French rail strike extended for second day

GMT 13:55 2014 Wednesday ,11 June

Arab Today, arab today French rail strike extended for second day

French rail strike extended for second day
Paris - KUNA

French rail unions voted Wednesday to extend a highly-disruptive nationwide strike for a second day, as Transport Ministry officials called for a meeting to try to halt the industrial action.
National rail operator SNCF said in a statement that a second strike notice for Thursday had been submitted and traffic will be affected throughout the country for a second day running.
On Wednesday, most rail services were badly hit by the strike, with intercity trains running at 30 percent to 50 percent of usual service.
Eurostar trains to London and Lille were not affected but Thalys international services to Belgium, Holland and Germany were disrupted yet to a lesser extent than national services.
The SNCF said that it hoped the situation would improve somewhat on Thursday and that about 50 percent of high-speed TGV trains would be running. Unions have called for an open-ended "renewable" strike to protest modernisation and other reforms that they say will affect their special status and will cost jobs and worsen working conditions.
The Paris region is expected to be badly affected on Thursday, with little improvement over the travel chaos experienced on Wednesday.
The rail operator said that suburban and regional trains would only be running at 30 percent of normal capacity.
Wednesday's strike coincided with a strike by taxi drivers, who blocked Charles de Gaulle and Orly aiport access roads and clashed with police.
This accentuated the problems for travellers and visitors to Paris, many of whom were stranded for the day.
Transport Ministry data indicates that the SNCF is currently indebted to the tune of over USD 50 billion and this figure is expected to rise sharply if cost reductions are not imposed. The Transport Minster is hosting talks Wednesday night with unions to try to de-escalate the situation.

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