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SNCF strikes: is there a risk for Christmas?

Will there be trains at Christmas? December promises to be hectic at the SNCF.

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SNCF strikes: is there a risk for Christmas?

Will there be trains at Christmas? December promises to be hectic at the SNCF. As the compulsory annual wage negotiations begin - which must begin on December 7 at the SNCF - a first strike by controllers forces the company to cancel 60% of its TGVs and Intercités from Friday December 2 to Sunday December 4 . Other strike notices were filed by the end of the year, including at Christmas.

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, whose notice was filed in early November, relates to wage demands , career development and, overall, greater recognition of the specificities of the position by SNCF Voyageurs management. "This notice marks a failure of social dialogue," said Didier Mathis, secretary general of UNSA-Ferroviaire. The nearly 10,000 train supervisors of the SNCF - 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.

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

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 on all trains where there is still room until Thursday, December 8 inclusive, according to SNCF Voyageurs.

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