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French rail strike to hit RER B and local trains

Ben McPartland · 9 Mar 2015, 09:06

Published: 09 Mar 2015 09:06 GMT+01:00

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Commuters and rail passengers should be spared any serious travel chaos this week caused by a one-day rail strike set to begin on Monday evening, according to SNCF.

The strike is set to begin at 7pm on Monday and will continue until 8am on Wednesday morning.

But according to forecasts from SNCF, most services will run as normal including the TGV, and most of the commuter trains in and around Paris.

There will be “slight disruption” to the RER B service which links the city’s two main airports Charles de Gaulle and Orly.

There will also be some disruption in the regions where only eight out of ten TER trains are expected to run.

The strike, which has been called by the CGT union in protest against planned rail reforms, is not a rolling strike, which means it won't be extended beyond the set deadline.

The contentious reforms were put into place in January and are intended to tackle the rail sector's soaring debt, which stands at more than €40 billion and was feared to almost double by 2025 if nothing changed.

READ ALSO: So why are the French always on strike?

Story continues below…

The reforms aim to cut costs by bringing together 149,000 employees at train operator SNCF and the 1,500 at RFF railway network to eventually open up parts of the service to competition.

The rolling strikes in June were the longest in years and crippled the transport system. They prompted clashes between riot police and protesters, and lost the state-run SNCF an estimated €80 million.

The CGT union has long argued that the reforms would lead to job losses without reducing debt. 

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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