Europe

Railway workers protest reforms outside French parliament

 

Several hundred railway workers protested on Monday, April 9, a short distance away France’s parliament, where lawmakers were to start examining a bill reforming the state-owned railway company.

Train staff last week began three months of nationwide rolling strikes in a dispute over the government’s planned overhaul of state-run railway SNCF, in the biggest challenge yet to Macron’s attempts to modernize the French economy.

Talks between workers and ministers have so far hit a wall. Some unions are stiffening their resistance, while the government has dug in its heels on the main aspects of its reform, which include the end of job-for-life guarantees for rail staff.

The government argues the overhaul will help transform the heavily indebted company into a profitable public service, but workers have hit back with complaints the SNCF was being dismantled to pave the way for privatization.

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