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Big strike this weekend at the SNCF, the Christmas holidays threatened

The first weekend of December will be very complicated for passengers, with 1 train in 2 on the TGV Nord, 1 in 3 on the TGV Est, 1 in 4 on the TGV Atlantique, 1 in 3 on the TGV Sud-Est , 1 out of 4 on Ouigo and 1 out of 2 Intercités from Friday to Sunday.

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Big strike this weekend at the SNCF, the Christmas holidays threatened

The first weekend of December will be very complicated for passengers, with 1 train in 2 on the TGV Nord, 1 in 3 on the TGV Est, 1 in 4 on the TGV Atlantique, 1 in 3 on the TGV Sud-Est , 1 out of 4 on Ouigo and 1 out of 2 Intercités from Friday to Sunday. There will be no night trains during the weekend.

Internationally, the company expects normal traffic for Eurostar and Thalys, 1 in 3 TGVs to Switzerland, 1 in 2 to Germany, 1 in 3 to Italy and no traffic to Spain.

A "gradual recovery" is envisaged on Monday, with 3 out of 4 trains to all TGV axes.

At the initiative of SUD-Rail, Unsa and CFDT, which followed a collective of controllers created at the start of the school year, the weekend strike concerns wage demands, career development and, overall, a greater recognition of the specificities of the function by the management of SNCF Voyageurs.

The nearly 10,000 SNCF on-board supervisors - generally called controllers -, of whom nearly 3,000 work on the TGV and Intercités, have an essential function in terms of traffic and passenger safety, and the trains cannot leave. without them.

"In the journey of the traveler, the skipper is the only railway worker he meets. We find ourselves at the end of the funnel of all the problems", explained to AFP Rénald Szpitalnik, elected SUD-Rail and controller on the TGV Paris-Milan. "The captains are the big forgotten in the equation while they are the showcase job of the SNCF!"

- Christmas and New Year's Day -

"This notice marks a failure of social dialogue," said Didier Mathis, secretary general of UNSA-Ferroviaire.

The skippers have already filed strike notices for the Christmas and New Year's Day weekends. "A sword of Damocles", according to Mr. Mathis.

"The ball is in the management's court", abounds Thomas Cavel, general secretary of the CFDT Cheminots.

"We are waiting for an awareness of the management on the specific condition of the controllers", whose working conditions have "degraded for some time", he insists.

The management of SNCF Voyageurs regrets in a press release a movement maintained "while concrete and important measures have been proposed to the trade unions at the end of several weeks of negotiations".

These measures related to the specific career development of this category "with an increase in the volume of promotions and an increase in their annual remuneration from January 2023". "Additional measures had also been proposed to facilitate the change of profession for those who wish to do so," she added.

"Crumbs", according to trade unionists contacted by AFP.

This strike comes on the eve of the start of the mandatory annual negotiations (NAO), which must begin on Wednesday, December 7 at the level of the SNCF group. The CGT, SUD-Rail and CFDT called for a "unitary strike" that day.

For travelers due to travel this weekend, the SNCF is setting up the usual system: customers who have left their contact details must be informed on Wednesday, by email or SMS, of the circulation, or not, of their train. In any case, the company recommends that they check the timetables before going to the station and, when possible, postpone their journeys.

All travellers, whether their train is maintained or cancelled, and whatever their ticket – TGV Inoui, Ouigo and Intercités – may be fully reimbursed for journeys scheduled between Friday and Monday, or exchange their ticket free of charge in all trains where there is room until Thursday, December 8 inclusive, according to SNCF Voyageurs.

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