A spokesperson for the SNCF evokes “a gradual return to normal on Monday”, with 3 out of 4 TGVs in circulation, and a total resumption of traffic on Tuesday.
Vers a “return to normal” Monday: 3 out of 4 TGVs must run for the last day of the SNCF controllers’ strike, which led to the cancellation of 60% of trains this weekend and could disrupt the holidays according to the outcome of discussions with management. Gathered in a collective outside the union framework, the SNCF controllers – also called captains – have stopped work since Friday to demand better recognition of their status.
Questioned Sunday evening by AFP, a spokesperson for the SNCF evokes “a gradual return to normal on Monday”, with 3 out of 4 TGVs in circulation, and a total resumption of traffic on Tuesday. As SNCF management announced on Friday, “new meetings” are scheduled for this week (Thursday, according to the SUD-Rail union website), “as part of the dialogue initiated for weeks with the trade unions on the subject captains”.
60% of TGVs canceled
On Sunday, traffic was still severely disrupted, with 60% of TGV and Intercités canceled. With the exception of the CGT-Cheminots, all the unions (Unsa-Ferroviaire, SUD-Rail, CFDT-Cheminots and FO-Cheminots) supported the movement. To put pressure on the SNCF, the controllers also threaten to strike on Christmas and New Year weekends.
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Fearing disruptions during the end-of-year holidays, the Minister Delegate for Transport, Clément Beaune, called on Saturday for “collective responsibility”. “We will do our best to ensure that there is no strike at Christmas,” promised Nicolas Limon, one of the founders of the National Collective ASCT (CNA), launched in September on Facebook and which today has nearly of 3,000 members. He told AFP on Friday that “more than 80%” of controllers would be on strike over the weekend.
“A real hassle”
At the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport station as at that of Lille Flandres, a few rare people were waiting on Sunday under the screens, which announced only a handful of TGVs in circulation. Anne Gravereaux and her husband have just arrived from Cannes to see their 93-year-old godfather in nursing home. To come to Lille, “we looked at all the options: renting a car, coming by carpool…”. They finally found this train, after a first stop the day before in Paris: “A real hassle! she says.
The nearly 10,000 train supervisors at the SNCF, of whom nearly 3,000 work on the TGV and Intercités trains, have an essential function in terms of traffic and passenger safety. Without them, trains cannot run. Beyond salary issues, the controllers feel “mistreated”, and demand better consideration as well as an improvement in their working conditions, explained Saturday on RMC Fabien Villedieu, SUD-Rail union representative. “It’s a strike that we didn’t see coming, neither us nor the unions”, acknowledged Thursday the CEO of the SNCF, Jean-Pierre Farandou, during a conference organized by the magazine Challenges.
After this weekend of “taking the temperature”, SUD-Rail hopes that concrete proposals will be formulated during the negotiations next week, saying “believe in social dialogue”, especially as Christmas approaches. The month of December promises to be agitated at the SNCF: this mobilization occurs just before the start of the annual negotiations for salaries, which must begin on Wednesday at group level. The CGT, SUD-Rail and CFDT called for a “united strike” that day.