French Rail Strike Enters Second Week

As BBC reports, a strike by rail staff in France has entered its second week with no sign of a settlement.  Two unions,  CGT, France’s largest labor union, and the smaller Sud-Rail union,  are protesting over a government plan to unite SNCF with the RFF railway network, which workers fear will lead to job losses. The striking unions want the two companies to be fully merged as they were until 1997 and for the government to assume some of their combined €44 billion ($60 billion) debt.
The strike has caused the most serious disruption to the network for several years and  threatens to reverse the recent slight increase in rail’s share of the overall domestic transport market that halted decades of decline.
While the strike has mainly impacted passenger services, CGT has also reiterated its opposition to competition in freight, claiming SNCF’s cargo volume has almost halved since 2006 when the European Union forced open the market to private operators, both French and foreign.SNCF, the state-owned rail operator, asked its customers to postpone shipments scheduled for this week until further notice. The French parliament is due to debate the planned reforms this week. RCL Agency will provide more details once available.