Strikes For Members

Will rail strikes in France rumble on throughout the summer?

The Local France
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Will rail strikes in France rumble on throughout the summer?
General Confederation of Labour (CGT) union workers hold a mock coffin reading "(French state rail company) SNCF: Bury the reform" during a demonstration in Rennes, western France, on January 14, 2020. Photo by Damien MEYER / AFP

Strikes by rail workers unions caused widespread disruption to train services in France on Wednesday July 6th. What are they chances of more industrial action on French railways through the summer holidays?


Train services was severely disrupted across France on Wednesday, July 6th, after workers with the country's national rail service went on strike to demand wage increases in the face of galloping inflation.

The industrial action led to nearly a quarter of TGV trains being cancelled and delays and cancellations to other regional and inter-city services across the country on the eve of the summer holiday getaway.


This strike was part of a long list of transport-related industrial action this summer which comes at a time when tourism is returning to pre-pandemic levels but travel companies and airlines are hit by staff shortages and worker disputes.

SNCF noted that this industrial action was "of a greater magnitude" than other walkouts in recent months.

Will there be more rail strikes this summer in France?

In response to the strike, SNCF management offered an average total salary increase of 3.1 percent, which has been seen as insufficient by the majority of unions who are demanding double that amount.

Three of the four unions which took part in the strike: CGT, Sud-Rail, CFDT are unhappy with the offer, which means they may revert to more strike action to try to push bosses to up it. They say it does not cover the impact of rising inflation.

According to Sud-Rail, railway workers with SNCF have not obtained a general increase in wages for eight years.

CGT, the largest union representing railway workers, has called the offer "still very inadequate," while Eric Meyer, the Federal Secretary for Sud-Rail said the "company remains at the halfway point."

In contrast leaders Unsa-Ferroviare, the second largest union representing SNCF employees called the measure "encouraging," adding that if SNCF had proposed these measures last Friday they wouldn't have needed to strike.

In other words the unions appear split on whether to accept the offer, which is often the case in rail disputes in France.

This row looks far from solved with unions threatening more one day strike action which will likely mean more disruption for travellers.

"We will consult our members. There is a great chance that it does not remain there. At some point this summer there could be other movements to bring management back to the table," said Erik Meyer, of the Sud Rail union told Reuters.

No possible dates for further strikes action this summer have been given.


In 2019 industrial action over pension reform for SNCF staff made history, going on for almost three full months. 

In general, strikes are quite common during the summertime, with the month of June typically being the most popular month of the year. Additionally, strikes tend to occur over particularly busy periods - like the end of the school year - with the effort of making a larger impact.

Strikes often come to an end when certain unions reach a deal with bosses meaning they call on their workers to return to work.

That often leaves the more radical syndicats continuing strike action albeit with less disruption for travellers. With Unsa union suggestion the pay offer is encouraging it's possible their workers could return whilst the CGT and Sud-Rail push on.

The Local will keep you up to date on all strike news this summer as and when dates are announced.



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