15 thoughts on “French President Macron wants railway privatization

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  2. An international delegation of ITF railway unions has joined their French colleagues to discuss the next stage of the campaign to keep a single, integrated public company on France’s national rail system, the SNCF. The 20 trade unionists from Norway, Japan, the UK, Spain, Hungary and Belgium met with members of France’s CGT federation railways section in Paris on 8 February. Laurent Brun, the newly-elected general secretary of the CGT rail section, addressed the meeting and Øystein Aslaksen, chair of the ITF railways section, also took part.

    Laurent Brun told the delegates: ‘The French government has failed to reduce the huge debt in the railway system. ‘It has already reduced the French rail network and is now trying to create an open market and reduce workers’ social protections as a solution to the debt.
    ‘We believe that the government intends to fully privatise the SNCF and create a new economic model. ‘The CGT can and will mobilise public service rail workers to protest against the government’s plans. We welcome the solidarity and support of the ITF’s family of railway unions.’

    Since France’s freight market was opened up in May 2006, freight traffic has fallen by 30 per cent.

    In 2006 the SNCF carried 40 billion tonne-kilometres (t.km); by 2017 the 15 rail companies between them carried only 28 billion t.km. This accounted for 10 per cent of the overall freight market in France, down from 20 per cent in 2000.

    Aslaksen commented that the ITF stood by the CGT and its members, as part of its campaign for public transport based on public ownership, public investment, secure jobs and union rights for workers. Next month, the CGT will distribute 500,000 copies of a free newspaper to metro passengers across France to alert them to the planned reforms. It is also organising a national public demonstration on 22 March, after bad weather forced the cancellation of the one planned for 8 February.

    Meanwhile, room cleaners and other outsourced workers at the Holiday Inn in Clichy, France ended their 111-day strike on February 8 by signing an agreement with the hotel’s subcontractor Héméra.
    The agreement signed by the unions puts an end to piece rate payment of housekeepers, mandates strict control of agreed working hours, guarantees two consecutive days of rest per week, eliminates contracts of less than 130 hours monthly and stipulates payment for time changing in and out of work clothes, among other important gains.

    In the course of their long fight, the Holiday Inn workers held protest rallies and demonstrations with union support in French and European cities targeting parent company Intercontinental and highlighting the exploitation and lack of rights which characterise outsourcing in the hospitality industry.

    https://wrp.org.uk/news/14074

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