French rail sues over station power cuts

9th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 8 (AFP) - French Transport Minister Gilles de Robien said Tuesday the national rail company SNCF had filed a lawsuit over a power cut to several Paris' train stations.

PARIS, June 8 (AFP) - French Transport Minister Gilles de Robien said Tuesday the national rail company SNCF had filed a lawsuit over a power cut to several Paris' train stations.

A union protesting against the partial privatisation of the state-owned electricity firm Electricite de France (EDF) claimed responsibility Monday for the power cut that snarled train traffic and affected 500,000 passengers.

"The SNCF has asked for compensation, the SNCF has filed a lawsuit for damages," de Robien told parliament.

"This interruption caused big problems for SNCF and passengers," he added.

The CGT union claimed responsibility for cutting the electricty supply Monday to the Paris-Saint-Lazare, Paris-Lyon and Paris Montparnasse train stations during the morning rush hour and just ahead of a meeting between unions and Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

The SNCF said the action caused 250 trains to be either late or cancelled, affecting 500,000 passengers.

SNCF confirmed it had filed a lawsuit but declined to say how much the incident cost the company.

The CGT union wants to see the withdrawal of a bill to be debated in parliament from June 15 about changing the statutes of EDF and gas giant Gaz de France, which is seen as a first step towards a partial privatisation.

Sarkozy warned Tuesday that the union's action risked undermining public opinion about EDF and its unionized workers' professionalism.

"Don't cut public opinion which knows that you are professionals very dedicated to your work," he said.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

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