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SNCF cuts corners to avoid a strike by controllers on a February holiday weekend

Mine clearance operation.

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SNCF cuts corners to avoid a strike by controllers on a February holiday weekend

Mine clearance operation. The CEO of SNCF, Jean-Pierre Farandou, had planned to invite the unions to a round table at the beginning of March after the presentation of the financial results for the year 2023. Finally, he received them on Thursday for three hours. This is because he takes very seriously the threat of a strike by controllers on a weekend (February 16 to 18) of the winter holidays. A notice was filed by three unions out of four (CGT-Cheminots, Sud-Rail and CFDT-Cheminots).

The boss of the old railway lady perfectly remembers the social movement led by the same category of staff during the 2022 Christmas holidays which left 200,000 people on the platform due to the cancellation of hundreds of trains. If the controllers say they are ready to put down their bags, it is because they believe that the promises made at the end of the last conflict (better remuneration, recruitment and discussions on arduousness and end-of-career arrangements) have not not been held. “Management tried to convince us that it was applying the measures promised in December 2022 but in the face, we gave it many examples of cases or places where this was not the case,” Erik Meyer, secretary, explained on Wednesday. federal South-Rail.

A position that Jean-Pierre Farandou does not share: “The commitments made to the captains (Editor's note, controllers) have been kept,” he asserted forcefully on Thursday afternoon. Simply, these measures are not necessarily immediate. Thus, the demand to have two controllers per TGV is today met at 87%. This will rise to 92% this year and to 100% in 2025. Likewise, on Wednesday, SNCF Voyageurs announced the recruitment of 200 additional controllers this year in addition to the 653 already planned.

Also read “It’s motivation that counts”: behind the scenes of the recruitment campaign for new Transilien SNCF agents

To ward off the threat of social conflict, Jean-Pierre Farandou announced other measures which will benefit controllers and all SNCF agents. “I decided on the additional payment of 400 euros to recognize the work of the railway workers,” underlines the boss of the public group. This exceptional bonus, which will be paid in March, is added to another of 400 euros already paid in December because the company's performance is good. The residence allowance paid to railway workers living where accommodation is expensive will be increased. “In Ile-de-France, it will be at least 100 euros per month. This measure will concern 77,000 railway workers,” indicates Jean-Pierre Farandou. Finally, 3,000 additional promotions will be granted with increases of between 2% and 4%.

Will this be enough to avoid a strike during school holidays? It's a little early to say. “Agents will have to measure whether what is proposed corresponds to their expectations or not,” says the CGT-Cheminots. The CFDT-Cheminots, which welcomed the promises of new hires, is also waiting to consult its members before deciding on the lifting of the notice period as well. We imagine that Jean-Pierre Farandou is impatiently awaiting their response. While he would like to remain at the head of the SNCF, a social movement would detract from his otherwise rather favorable record.

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