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France hit by second day of rail chaos

Reuters / Share:
A boy is seen at the Nice railway station on the second day of a nationwide strike by French SNCF railway workers in Nice, France, April 4, 2018. reuters

PARIS (Reuters) – Millions of French commuters suffered a second consecutive day of travel chaos yesterday as striking rail workers locked horns with President Emmanuel Macron’s government in a dispute over reforming the state-owned SNCF railways.

Commuters in and around Paris pushed their way onto the few trains running during the rush-hour while many platforms in the French capital’s busiest stations lay empty.

SNCF data at midday showed the number of drivers on strike fell slightly yesterday, though more signalmen and conductors had walked out than a day earlier. Across the company, including administrative and sales staff, the participation rate dipped.

Mr Macron wants to transform the heavily indebted rail company, which loses 3 billion euros each year, into a profit-making public service able to withstand foreign competition when its monopoly ends in 2020 in line with EU rules.

Unions reject plans to end rail workers’ special privileges and complain the government is paving the way to privatising the SNCF.

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