SNCF struggles to avoid strike during winter holidays

Mine clearance operation. Surrounded by strike notices notably filed by controllers for the weekend of February 16 to 18, in the middle of the vacation period, the SNCF is accelerating the announcement of a series of measures intended to defuse union anger. After having received at length the four organizations representing railway workers, Jean-Pierre Farandou, the CEO of SNCF, announced on Thursday February 8 that an exceptional bonus of 400 euros would be paid from February 1er March. Awarded to all staff, this is in addition to another payment of 400 euros made last December.

These bonuses, insisted the boss of the railway workers, echo the ” good results “ garnered by the company in 2023. Mr. Farandou, who wishes “avoid conflicts and [obtenir] the lifting of notice periods in order to allow the French to go on vacation”, did not want to wait for the announcement of the company’s annual accounts, scheduled for February 28. He preferred to list without delay the measures contained in the “platform for social progress” which he had just presented for three hours to the unions during a round table, preceded the day before by another meeting which lasted four hours.

SNCF also announced a 30% to 50% increase in residence allowances on 1er April paid to the 77,000 railway workers who live in regions where the real estate market is in tension, such as in Ile-de-France or in border areas. In the Paris region, the payment will be a minimum of 100 euros per month. Likewise, 3,000 additional promotions are planned for a pay gain of between 2% and 4% of salary. The recruitment of 1,000 railway workers on permanent contracts, in addition to the 7,300 recruitments already scheduled for the current year, has been confirmed. Among them, 200 additional captains (controllers).

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Mr. Farandou underlined that over the last three years, the average remuneration of railway workers has increased by 17% (up to 21% for lower-level employees) while inflation has increased by 13.2%. . He also proposes that salary agreements now be concluded for a period of three years.

“Overcoming categorical difficulties”

Scalded by the harsh strike over the Christmas weekend of 2022 which stranded some 200,000 travelers, the boss of the SNCF undertook to get personally involved and “reach out to overcome categorical difficulties” because the social climate threatens to deteriorate as the February holidays approach. The unions have decided in recent weeks to increase pressure on management, which they accuse of not deploying quickly enough the content of the agreement negotiated not without difficulty at the end of 2022. Following a conflict which had been heated through coordination bringing together disgruntled controllers outside the control of the unions, management and employees had agreed on remuneration, hiring as well as the opening of discussions on arduousness.

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