return to normal traffic on Monday, but the threat of a new movement looms for next weekend

The SNCF controllers’ strike ends on Monday February 19, after leading to the cancellation of one in two TGVs during the winter holiday weekend. But now there is the threat of a switchers’ strike in a few days.

“Next weekend, we will be on strike if management does not come to us”declared Sunday, on BFM-TV, Vincent Pinot, federal secretary of Sud-Rail, second force among switchers, who filed a strike notice from Friday 11 a.m. to Saturday 11 p.m. “Since the filing of the strike notice of January 31”we did not have “no contact with management”lamented the trade unionist, demanding a plan to “better working conditions and a traffic allowance of 300 euros”.

During the three days of strike − from Thursday evening 8 p.m. until Monday morning 8 a.m. −, the SNCF estimates that 150,000 travelers, out of the million who were supposed to travel, were unable to take their train. “On Monday traffic is expected to be normal on all axes” and the entire TGV, Intercités and TER network, said a company spokesperson on Sunday. The movement was very popular with three out of four controllers on strike over salary increases.

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Favored connections to the ski resorts of the Alps

“It seems to me that we need to work on a minimum service”said, on Sunday, the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, on France Inter, while recalling that“there is no question of questioning” strike, a constitutional right.

This weekend saw the first returns from zone C (Paris, Montpellier and Toulouse) but also departures from zone A (Lyon, Bordeaux, Dijon, etc.), and the SNCF promoted connections to the ski resorts of Alps where trains were full in both directions. The customers concerned have all been notified by email or SMS, assures the SNCF, and can be reimbursed if their train has been canceled.

Some travelers on the Paris-Lyon line fell back on the trains of the railway company Trenitalia which were 8% more full than last year. “The peak exists this year but it is difficult to say what part is natural demand and what is the impact of strike announcements”underlined a spokesperson for the new competitor of the SNCF. “We deplore the strikes in the railway sector. They keep travelers away from the train, the most ecological mode of transport, especially during periods when they need it most”she continued.

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Better traffic than expected on Sunday on the Atlantic axis

The Blablacar platform, for its part, observed a “doubling of demand for reservations” for carpooling and coaches since the announcement of the SNCF transport plan on Wednesday.

On the roads, motorists found themselves stuck in traffic jams on Saturday in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, approaching ski resorts, but also in the Paris region. Bison Futé had, however, planned for usual traffic in both directions on Sunday.

Certain train lines were more affected by the strike, such as Paris-Bordeaux where two thirds of trains were canceled on Saturday. More trains than expected were finally able to run on Sunday, on the Atlantic axis which covers the West and the South-West, the railway company confirmed.

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The World with AFP

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