French train conductors call strike over winter holiday weekend

The Local France
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French train conductors call strike over winter holiday weekend
A traveller waits in front of platforms at Gare du Nord train station in Paris during a rail strike in March 2023 (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)

Rail services will be disrupted this weekend in France, after two large unions representing train conductors called for walkouts. The strike comes in the middle of the busy of the busy winter school holidays.


Two French unions representing rail conductors (contrôleurs), CGT and Sud-Rail, announced after a meeting on Monday that they would maintain their call for strike action during the weekend of Friday, February 16th to Sunday, February 18th.

According to French radio channel, RMC, the CFDT union lifted its strike notice on Monday.

The planned industrial action will overlap with the school holidays for those in Zones A (including Grenoble, Lyon and Bordeaux) and C (including Paris and Toulouse).

During the last widespread rail conductor strike - which caused travel chaos during the Christmas holidays in 2022 - unions reached an agreement with management over pay increases and more recruitment. However, this round of strikes has been called due to the slow application of those measures, according to unions.

How much disruption can travellers expect?

Those planning to travel during the third weekend of February will be able to see a list on the SNCF website of cancelled trains from Wednesday morning.

Knock-on disruption could begin from Thursday night and last until Monday morning.

The strike comes in the middle of France's winter school holidays with thousands set to travel by train to and from French Alps. 

SNCF chief Jean-Pierre Farandou said "We will try and run all the trains that head to the Alps and the Pyrénées for the winter holidays".

Fabien Villedieu, a representative from the Sud-Rail union, told RMC he expects to see large participation in the strike. "With the feedback we currently have, roughly 70 to 90 percent of conductors have said they plan to strike, and they have until [Tuesday] to decide."


According to RMC, on Friday, travellers can expect more disruption on TGV (high-speed train) services than on TERs (regional trains).



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