Rail strikes: Passengers in France warned of major disruption after Easter

Train passengers in France have been warned that major disruptions will hit services from 7pm on Monday April 2nd (Easter Monday), the eve of the first two-day rolling strike by rail workers.

Rail strikes: Passengers in France warned of major disruption after Easter
Photo: AFP
French rail workers will stage rolling strikes from April to June which threaten to cause travel misery for passengers across the country. 
Tuesday April 3rd and Wednesday April 4th are the first of a total of 36 days of strike action however travellers have been warned that services will be affected from Monday evening.  
Head of France's national rail company SNCF Guillaume Pepy advised people travelling on Monday evening to “take precautions”. 

“The strike starts Monday at 7 pm and it will greatly disrupt the lives of French people,” said Pepy on Friday. “There will be very few trains that leave after 7 pm on Monday.”
“The law states that each of the drivers and signal have until Saturday at 7 pm to say they are joining the strike,” he said, adding that a list of the trains still scheduled to depart will be published on Sunday morning. 
But he warned that some passengers who have already left for Easter weekend risk having one of their trains cancelled.
More details on exactly how rail traffic is hit will be made public on Sunday.
The rolling strikes will be carried out on two days out of every five until June 28 unless the government drops its plan, which includes stripping new recruits of jobs-for-life and other benefits, the CGT said on Thursday after a meeting of rail operator SNCF's four main unions.
With the government planning to push through the reforms using parliamentary decrees rather than putting them to a vote by MPs it appears both sides are entrenched in their positions, which means bad news for passengers.
Unions are angry over the government's plan to scrap the special employment status of rail workers, who often have to work weekends, nights and holidays.
French strikes: What can I do if my train or plane is cancelled?


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.