How Friday’s trade union strike could hit rail services in France

French union CGT has called for a national strike on Friday to denounce President Emmanuel Macron's failure to listen to the "legitimate anger" of the French people. Certain public services and train routes, including an important commuter line in Paris will be affected.

How Friday's trade union strike could hit rail services in France
Photo: AFP

The CGT union has decided to hold the strike to denounce the social policies of Macron and to demand a rise in salaries, pensions and welfare protection.

Th union wants to add further pressure to Macron who has been under pressure to respond to the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement which has seen violent protests in Paris and other cities in recent weeks.

The union also wants to show its anger against the hotly contested rail reforms which were passed by the French government earlier this year after a three-month rolling strike.

The good news for rail passengers is that for the moment the disruption to train services is predicted to be only minimal.

For example TGV trains should run as normal, as will Intercité services. International services such as Eurostar, Lyria and Thalys should also operate as normal on Friday.

How TER regional services in many parts of France will be hit and passengers are urged to consult the TER website.

In Paris the main impact of the strike will be on the RER B commuter line which service both of the capital's airports: Orly and Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle.

During rush hour one fifth of services on the line will be cancelled while during the other times of the day services will be reduced by a quarter. Airport passengers therefor should makeextra time if they are travelling by train to either Orly or Charles de Gaulle.

The impact on services will begin on Thursday evening after 7pm and they will only return to normal at 7am on Saturday morning.

All other RER lines will run as normal, as will the city's bus and tram services.



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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.