Moroccan rail workers take discrimination case against SNCF
Some 360 Moroccan rail workers took France's state rail company SNCF to an industrial tribunal Tuesday for discrimination for refusing to give them the same rights as their French counterparts.
The workers, some now retired, were recruited in the 1970s as contract workers and were not given the privileged status of official SNCF railway workers, which for many years was reserved for French nationals.
SNCF rail worker status, which is now also open to citizens of all European Union countries, carries with it better pay, better social security protection, higher pensions and free or reduced price train tickets.
"We had talks with the SNCF about the abolition of the nationality clause but they did not get anywhere," said Bouabdellah Frahlia from Sud trade union, which is backing the Moroccan workers in their suit.
Frahlia noted that the RATP, the Paris transport authority, dropped its nationality clause in 2002.
Sud said in a statement that the SNCF policy was a "form of direct discrimination."
© 2010 AFP