French union calls for national rail strike in July

The hardline CGT union has called for a national strike on the railways in July in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

French union calls for national rail strike in July
Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

The union is calling on all members across the country to strike on Thursday, July 1st, saying: “For our salaries, our jobs, our rights, for a protected status for all railway workers – everyone on strike!”

However, the strike only involves a single union so is unlikely to cause widespread disruption of the type seen during the mass transport strikes of December 2019 and January 2020, in which all transport unions joined together to take action in protest over pension reforms.

Public sector workers in France are legally obliged to give 48 hours’ notice of their intention to strike, and SNCF usually publishes revised strike timetables 24 hours in advance of industrial action.

This strike targets SNCF, so could affect national train routes and the Paris RER suburban train service, but not the Paris Metro or bus routes, which are run by RATP.

Separately, airport workers are also calling for a strike in July in a dispute over contract renegotiatons.

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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.