Despite the continuing strikes, the Assemblée approved a partial reform of SNCF
, the French state rail company. In response, the trade unions have hardened their position. In spite of this, it seems that there are fewer strikers than last week. The SNCF is guaranteeing 200 TGVs
on the two strike days this week (Wednesday and Thursday) instead of the regular 700. The trains will be driven by non-strikers and office staff who are trained as train drivers. Last weekend, fewer people were on strike
than earlier this month.
The strikes have already cost the French railways 100 million euro
, while the tourism sector claims the conflict will cost them 400 million euros
. The employees refusing to work are also losing money: they are not paid a salary on their strike days and receive only a small allowance from the trade union fund. Because their pockets are almost empty, they have set up a crowdfunding campaign. In France, such action would not be complete without the support of well-known intellectuals
. At the time of this newsletter being sent out, they will have already raised almost eight hundred thousand euros
. The money will be given to the strikers.
Tit for tat
On the Metz-Luxembourg railway line
, the passengers gave the train-workers a taste of their own medicine. To protest against the many technical incidents and the low frequency of commuter trains, they refused to show their tickets
. Every day almost 100,000 French people
travel to the neighbouring country of Luxembourg to work there. Often the salaries there are thousands of euros higher than in their own country, for the same work. The connections between the two regions are mediocre: public transport is bad, and in the morning and evening the roads between the two countries are paralysed by long traffic jams