• France's news in English
French rail strike enters third day as Euro 2016 fears ease
A man wearing a mask of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls installs rails in front of the MEDEF's (French employers' association) branch in Lyon during the strike. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

French rail strike enters third day as Euro 2016 fears ease

The Local · 4 Jun 2016, 08:21

Published: 04 Jun 2016 08:21 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
Unions pressed on with the rail stoppages for a third full day, but the number of staff taking part fell to just above 10 percent, the SNCF rail operator said.
Services in Paris were hit, but almost all high-speed trains were operating. However the train strike was expected to cause more disruption over the weekend.
In the capital and further south, attention has shifted from the lingering strikes to the worst flooding for three decades.
Just as the risk to Euro 2016 of an air traffic controllers' strike faded, unions for Air France pilots threatened late Thursday to call a four-day stoppage beginning on June 11, when the championships will be in full swing.
Transport Minister Alain Vidalies described the pilots' strike call as "irresponsible".
"It would be incomprehensible if flights are halted in France" during the month-long event hosted by France, he said. "Everyone needs to contribute to making Euro 2016 a success."
 The minister said the pilots' strike, the latest in a long-running dispute over working conditions at France's national carrier, was just "an attempt to gain headlines".
"I hope dialogue will win the day," he said.
Household rubbish risked building up in the Paris region and elsewhere in the country due to strikes against the government's labour reforms which are at the heart of the wave of industrial unrest.
Three of the four main refuse centres in Paris were blockaded by union activists.
A week after blockades and strikes left petrol stations running dry, the situation eased further as workers voted to resume operations at a major refinery at Donges, on the Atlantic coast, and at Grandpuits east of Paris.
Concerns about transport during Euro 2016 had eased on Thursday after air traffic controllers called off a walkout that had been expected to ground flights this weekend.
Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri said the government was "sorting out each of the situations one by one."
But unions still have plenty of opportunities to create disruptions during the championships which begin when France play Romania in Paris' Stade de France on June 10.
The tournament is expected to attract around 1.5 million foreign visitors for the matches at 10 venues around the country, posing a major security challenge following last year's jihadist attacks in Paris.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the continuing strike action "incomprehensible"
Although each of the strikes has its own motivations, the unions are united in opposition to the labour reforms, which the government says will reduce unemployment by making it easier to hire and fire employees.
 The government has refused to withdraw the legislation, which it forced through the lower house of parliament without a vote last month.
Unions say the law favours bosses by letting them set their own working conditions for new employees, rather than being bound to industry-wide agreements, allowing companies to cut jobs during hard times and go beyond the 35-hour work week.
Story continues below…
Despite the often violent demonstrations against the law, President Francois Hollande is refusing to scrap the legislation and has criticised the unions for tarnishing France's image.
Hollande sees the labour law as key to his legacy as he considers whether to stand for a second term in next May's presidential election.
New polls this week showed Hollande only had a 14-percent approval rating, while the government as a whole mustered a lowly 10 percent.
Journalists associations complained Friday that reporters had become targets for law enforcement officers during protests.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is prepared to meet media representatives to discuss their complaints, his office said.
However Cazeneuve's entourage insisted that police "who guarantee the right to protest are too often subjected to high levels of violence in the exercise of their duties".
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Millionaire Riviera hotel boss kidnapped in broad daylight
The city of Nice where the millionaire was bundled into a car infront of shocked onlookers. Photo: AFP

The millionaire head of a luxury hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was kidnapped in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available