French rail strike extended into 6 day

GMT 13:47 2014 Sunday ,15 June

Arab Today, arab today French rail strike extended into 6 day

Passengers walk towards an employee
Paris - AFP

A crippling French strike against a planned reform of the rail sector will roll into next week, union leaders said Sunday, with the industrial action now the longest to hit the railways since 2010.
With the travel plans of millions of visitors and French citizens already disrupted just as the tourist season hits its peak, industrial action is now due to drag into a sixth day on Monday.
Previous days have seen an average of one in two high-speed TGV trains stopped and regional transport seriously degraded.
The strike has also affected international links, with high-speed trains to Italy and Spain hit. But Eurostar services that include links to London have been operating normally.
Visitors arriving at Paris's international airports have also faced disruption getting into the city, with disruption on a network that across the Paris region carries three million commuters a day.
The railway workers' branch of the CGT union leading the protest told AFP Sunday that "mobilisation remained strong", despite reports that only around a fifth of workers are striking.
The action comes as France's lower house of parliament is due to examine proposed reforms aiming to tackle the rail sector's soaring debt on Tuesday.
Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said last week that the sector's debt stood at more than 40 billion euros ($54 billion), and would likely soar to 80 billion euros by 2025 if nothing was done to stem it.
The unions behind the strike, however, say the proposed reform will not help rein in the debt, and have been locked in a trial of strength with the government as neither side gives in.
With delays and cancellations in stations across the country, locals and tourists took to social media to express their frustration.
James Beard, a chef from the US, tweeted that he was in France "trying to taste some Alsatian wine but no surprise: there is a strike. Paris to Strasbourg = not fast."
Others joked that this was just the latest in a series of strikes to hit the country.
Philippe Latulippe wrote on his Twitter feed: "Rail strike tomorrow, an authentic French experience."
The strike has forced local authorities to implement special measures to ensure high school students can sit their final exams, with the strike extension for Monday hitting the first day of the week-long "baccalaureat".
Trains and buses will be put in place on affected lines so that students taking the first part of the exam -- philosophy -- would make it on time.


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