Train bosses in France want to stop work over the Christmas weekend. Your strike could affect hundreds of thousands of TGV travelers. Politicians and railways criticize the strike. This was formed via a Whatsapp group - independent of the unions.
Around 200,000 train passengers in France are affected by train cancellations shortly before the Christmas weekend. Due to a strike by the train bosses, a third of the trains are to be canceled from Friday, especially TGVs. According to SNCF, travelers can exchange their tickets for the Christmas weekend free of charge. However, most trains on the public holidays have long been fully booked. "I would like to apologize on behalf of the company," Christophe Fanichet, head of SNCF Voyageurs, told France Info. "A strike during the Christmas holidays is unacceptable. It makes me angry." The reimbursement of the tickets will cost the company several million euros.
Government spokesman Olivier Véran was also outraged by the strike. "You don't go on strike at Christmas," he told France Inter. "I'm not questioning the right to strike (...), but is it really necessary to go on strike over the Christmas weekend? No, it's not," he said.
For once, the strike did not come from the unions, but from a loose association of train managers who are responsible for both ticket inspections and on-board security. This association emerged from a Whatsapp group and now has more than 3500 members, which corresponds to about a third of the professional group. The unions had not actively called for the strike. However, they refrained from withdrawing a strike warning for the Christmas weekend.
The train manager collective had already called for a strike at the beginning of December, which led to the failure of around 60 percent of long-distance trains. Employees complain about what they consider to be low salaries and poor working conditions. They also do not want to be represented by the unions, which they believe are primarily concerned with internal guerrilla wars.
SNCF points out that the salary of the train managers has already increased by twelve percent within two years. According to the company, the train bosses have already been offered more salary and made suggestions for improvement.