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French rail strikes have cost 100 million euros: operator

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A protester punches a dummy depicting French President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration to call for a convergence of struggles made by French railway. reuters

Paris (AFP) – France’s rail operator said yesterday that the rolling strikes against plans to overhaul the debt-laden company had already cost it around 100 million euros as the standoff between unions and the government drags on.

Train drivers and other staff at the state-owned SNCF have vowed to continue walking off the job two days out of every five until at least June 28 unless the government backs down on its reforms.

The stoppages so far are costing around 20 million euros per strike day and the disruption often spills into non-strike days, SNCF chief Guillaume Pepy said yesterday, the fourth day of the walkout.

Both sides are claiming broad public support. An Ifop poll published Sunday showed 62 percent in favour of the government’s reforms, compared with a slim majority of 51 percent in the same survey a week earlier.

President Emmanuel Macron, who has barely spoken publicly on the standoff, is set to give an hour-long televised interview Thursday.

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