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France 24
France 24

French unions call off railway strike for New Year holiday weekend

Commuters wait in line to buy tickets at the Gare de Lyon in Paris during a strike on December 2, 2022. © Stéphane de Sakutin, AFP

France's national train operator SNCF said that trade unions had lifted a threat to call a strike for the forthcoming New Year holiday weekend after a deal was reached with management.

The protests had created a headache for French travellers and the government, which is trying to face down growing discontent in France from public sector workers who are demanding better pay and working conditions as inflation mounts.

While the agreement is good news for travellers, no such deal has been reached with ticket controllers who called a strike for the Christmas weekend – leading to mass train cancellations and disrupting holiday plans for hundreds of thousands of travellers.

The Christmas rail strike has been coordinated by an informal collective of train managers on Facebook, without union backing, and the strikers have made no public statement.

The stoppage will cost the SNCF an estimated 100 million euros, Transport Minister Clement Beaune said on Thursday, describing the strike as "incomprehensible and unjustifiable".

France's rail operator has offered to reimburse double the face value of cancelled tickets if travellers are unable to book an alternative.

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AFP)

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