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French doctor in hot water after ‘refusing to treat striking rail workers’

A French doctor has landed himself in hot water after putting a sign up on his surgery door saying that he would "refuse treatment" to rail workers due to the ongoing strike action. But patients don't seem to have seen the funny side.

French doctor in hot water after 'refusing to treat striking rail workers'
Photos: Depositphotos/AFP
A French doctor who was feeling disgruntled by the rail strikes and made his feelings clear in a jokey sign has been reported to medical authorities for his “inappropriate behaviour”. 
 
On the very first day of the strikes, the 57-year-old orthopedic surgeon in the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France posted a sign (see tweet below) in his surgery stating that he would not be seeing patients who work for France's national rail company SNCF because he was carrying out his own “strike”. 
 
“Due to Dr. Henri Robin's strike, he will not receive employees of the SNCF,” the sign said.
 
Robin went on to suggest that “in case of emergency, railway workers should go to the private hospital in Nogent-sur-Marne, taking the RER E and then the RER A, despite the fact that only one train in three were running”. 
 
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That trip, he wrote, would take “about three hours” because of the strike.
 
In his message, the practitioner also denounced the pension plan railway workers receive while mocking train drivers who have “their ass on a chair, pressing a button and a pedal for six hours 37 minutes a day”.
 
The sign written by the doctor, who is a public transport user in the Ile-de-France region, was posted at the beginning of the rail strike in April when disruption to train services was at its peak. 
 
And while no doubt some were amused by the sign, others struggled to see the funny side.
 
As a result, Dr. Robin is now the subject of a complaint for “inappropriate behaviour” at the Departmental Council of the College of Physicians, reported Le Dauphine newspaper.
 
“This is a very good sign that gets the message across effectively,” Robin told Le Dauphine. “Of course I do not refuse patients, but it turns out that I have not had a single railway worker since the beginning of the strike.”
 
“It was a joke, if a railwayman showed up, of course I would take him in. In practice, I never refuse anyone,” he told franceinfo, adding that the council had sent him a letter and has given him a chance to give his version of the events. 
 
Rail unions are set to strike until June 28th over plans to strip new SNCF recruits of jobs-for-life and early retirement, part of Macron's bid to reduce the SNCF's nearly €50 billion of debt.
 

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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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