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French rail strikes latest: Train services disrupted once again on Friday

The French rail strikes may be running out of steam but they will continue on Friday and services will be badly disrupted.

French rail strikes latest: Train services disrupted once again on Friday

French rail chiefs have warned that train services on Friday will be disrupted due to the latest two-day strike by rail workers.

While services won't be as badly hit as on Monday, the last day of strike action which saw a big jump in the numbers joining the walk out, trains will be cancelled across the country while others will be delayed. 

SNCF says that just over half of high-speed TGV trains will be running while only two out of five TER and Intercité mainline rains will run.

RER trains in and around Paris will run around half of the usual services. Anyone taking the RER B to Charles de Gaulle airport will have to change trains at Gare du Nord.

However the availability of services depends on the regions and passengers are advised to check with SNCF whether their trains are running.

SNCF says the number of strikers taking part in Friday's industrial action will be far fewer than on Monday, which unions dubbed “a day without rail workers” in a bid to boost the ranks of strikers.

Only around half the number of workers who walked out on Monday will take part in Friday's strike, SNCF said.

“The conditions for rail traffic are among the best we will have had since the strike began,” said the SNCF's Mathias Vicherat.

While the strike may be weakening SNCF have grown worried that those behind the industrial action are becoming more radicalised in a desperate attempt to keep up the pressure on the government.

On Monday the rail operator reported some 50 acts of deliberate sabotage including the cutting of overhead cables, which it blamed on the strikers.

The rolling two-day strikes began on April 3rd in protest against the French government's reform of the heavily indebted rail sector. They are due to run on until June 28th with both sides apparently refusing to budge.

President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly stated his determination to push the reforms through.

READ ALSO: French rail strikers resort to sabotage as movement grows more militant

French rail strikers resort to sabotage as movement grows militant

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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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