Paris rail commuters face delays as strike begins

12th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 12 (AFP) - French commuters, especially those in the Paris area, braced Wednesday for widespread delays as rail workers called a 36-hour strike over plans to reorganise the freight sector of the national railway SNCF.

PARIS, May 12 (AFP) - French commuters, especially those in the Paris area, braced Wednesday for widespread delays as rail workers called a 36-hour strike over plans to reorganise the freight sector of the national railway SNCF.

The strike, due to last from 8pm on Wednesday through 8am on Friday, will see only two out of three high-speed trains and one of every two commuter trains running on time.

Eurostar trains between Paris and London, and Thalys high-speed trains
linking France, Belgium and the Netherlands, were expected to operate on schedule despite the strike, the SNCF said.

But all domestic overnight trains were cancelled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Four trade unions launched the strike call in protest at the SNCF's
three-year plan to restructure the freight sector, which calls for the
elimination of 2,500 jobs in 2004.

No one will be fired, according to SNCF management, but freight employees will be transferred to other posts.

Union leaders met with aides to Transport Minister Gilles de Robien on
Tuesday, but reiterated their strike call after the talks, saying the
government had failed to offer a satisfactory compromise.

©AFP

Subject: French news

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