Transport strikes in France

By | Category: Travel news

Eurostar trainsIf you are travelling or holiday in France during the next three months, be warned. A series of rolling strikes might make life difficult for you.

Starting today, the rail workers will go on strike for two days out of every five and which are scheduled to last until June 28th.  Those two days may not be the end of the action each week because it could have an impact on trains the day before and the day after depending on where trains are positioned.

Only one high-speed TGV train out of eight is scheduled to run and one regional train out of five. 75% of Eurostar trains to London and Brussels will run  (although there is nothing on the Eurostar website at time of writing to offer any advice) and the Thalys (High-speed expresses in Europe) trains towards Belgium and the Netherlands will operate almost normally, but there will be none at all to Spain, Italy or Switzerland. According to SNCF, 48% of train drivers and other staff are set to join Tuesday’s strike.

The reason for the strikes is that rail workers are objecting to the French government’s reforms one of which is a large reform of the state rail operator SNCF. From 2020, under EU rules, passenger rail will be open to competition and, at the moment say the government, it costs 30% more for a French journey than one elsewhere in Europe. Hence the need for reform.

The planned days for strikes are

April

  • Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th
  • Sunday 8th and Monday 9th
  • Friday 13th and Saturday 14th
  • Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th
  • Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th
  • Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th

May:

  • Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th
  • Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th
  • Sunday 13th and Monday 14th
  • Friday 18th and Saturday 19th
  • Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th
  • Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th

June:

  • Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd
  • Thursday 7th and Friday 8th
  • Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th
  • Sunday 17th and Monday 18th
  • Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd
  • Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th

It isn‘t just the rail workers that could make life difficult for travellers. Last week Air France had industrial action and it faces the same today. Estimates suggest that 75% of flights will operate normally despite the fact that this is the fifth strike over pay in little over a month, but further walkouts are planned for April 7, 10 and 11. The reason that Air France is hoping to run so many flights is that they have experience from the previous strikes and can plan better.

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