Start of week of rolling transport strikes in France

Start of week of rolling transport strikes in France
Trains and airports are set to be hit by strikes in July. Photo: DENIS CHARLET / AFP.
Strikes on railways and in airports in France began on Thursday, the beginning of several different strikes called for the start of July.

Who is going on strike?

Three groups have so far called for strike action at the beginning of July, designed to coincide with the first part of the holiday getaway.

The CGT union has called for a national strike on the railways on Thursday July 1st. Since the strike only involves a single union it is unlikely to cause widespread disruption of the type seen during the mass transport strikes of December 2019 and January 2020, and reported disruptions so far are low.

SNCF said services are “quasi normal” on Thursday, with TGV and Intercité running as normal, and some disruption on the local TER trains. International services like Eurostar, Thalys and Lyria are running as normal.

International travel could also be impacted due to an airport workers’ strike. All trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (Charles de Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports) are calling for a strike between July 1st and July 5th. Union representatives said they chose the July date, as it is the first weekend of mass departures for the summer holidays.

There are no flight cancellations reported due to this action.

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Three transport unions have called for workers on the Ouigo budget high-speed trains to go on strike over the weekend of July 3rd and 4th. They are Unsa-Ferroviaire, CFDT-Cheminots, and SUD-Rail. This will not affect regular TGV services, Intercité lines or TER local train services and suburban routes.

SNCF says its Ouigo routes will b “slightly adapted” over the weekend to allow for the strike action, but that 100 percent of customers will be able to travel.

July 1st also represents the planned start date for vaccine passports within the EU, meaning the strike will impact fully vaccinated people hoping to take advantage of relaxed travel restrictions within the Bloc.

Why are they striking?

The goal of the Ouigo strike is to protest “deteriorating working conditions”, and to ask for a one-off bonus to recognise railway workers’ contributions during the pandemic, as reported by Le Parisien.

In a joint press release, the three unions distanced themselves from the July 1st action, telling workers not to join a “catch-all strike”.

Among the CGT’s demands are a pay rise and an end to outsourcing within the SNCF. “For our salaries, our jobs, our rights, for a protected status for all railway workers – everyone on strike!” they said.

The airport strike meanwhile follows a dispute over contract renegotiations. Unions say the plans outlined by Aéroports de Paris will lead to lower pay, job losses, and a reduction in workers’ rights.

French vocab

Les cheminots – railway workers

Un syndicat – a trade union

Appeler à la grève – to call for a strike

Une revendication – a demand

Une hausse des salaires – a pay rise

Les conditions de travail – working conditions

If you get caught up in the strikes, find some more useful vocabulary here.

Member comments

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  1. Considering the country is in a financial mess, I would have thought the unions should be working to get it back on it’s feet instead of striking but there again, I’m still waiting for my unicorn to be delivered Brexit promised me.

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