Train passengers across France will face possible delays and cancellations on Tuesday as rail workers across Europe take industrial action to protest against further rail liberalization.

"/> Train passengers across France will face possible delays and cancellations on Tuesday as rail workers across Europe take industrial action to protest against further rail liberalization.

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Rail strike set to cause disruptions

Train passengers across France will face possible delays and cancellations on Tuesday as rail workers across Europe take industrial action to protest against further rail liberalization.

Rail strike set to cause disruptions
Besopha

Four French unions including the largest, the CGT, are supporting the action in advance of legislation due to be examined by the European Parliament in mid-November.

National rail operator SNCF said in a statement there would be “light disruption” across the network, with most high-speed TGV trains running normally, except on the western “Atlantique” lines where seven out of ten trains would be running.

Disruption around Paris is likely to be worse with around one out of every four regional commuter trains cancelled.

International services including the Eurostar to the UK and Thalys to Brussels should not be affected. There may be some disruption to the Lyria service to Switzerland.

Train travel has been partially liberalized in France, with the freight market being opened up to competition in 2006.

Competition on international passenger routes was allowed at the end of 2009, with trains operated by Italian operator Trenitalia and French company Veolia expected to run between France and Italy from this autumn. A European Union directive requires the domestic passenger market to be opened up to competition by 2019.

One of the participating unions, the CFDT, was quoted in Aujourd’hui newspaper as saying they did not expect the strikes to have a “huge impact” but that they wanted to be part of the European action.

The union spokesman, Arnaud Morvan, claimed that competition would “bring nothing to the train network” and that it would result in “a lack of money to maintain the network in a good state.”

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STRIKES

French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.

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