French rail lost €100M after workers strike

This lost revenue adds €3 billion ($3.69 billion) to company’s overall debt pile of €47 billion ($57.8 billion) every year
PARIS: The head of French railway operator SNCF said Monday that the ongoing strike by staff has cost the firm nearly €100 million ($123 million) so far.
The rolling strikes, which started on April 3, are set to disrupt traffic two days a week until June 28, making a total of 36 days of strike action over the next three months.
Guillaume Pepy told French broadcaster BFMTV the industrial action has so far caused losses of “around €20 million ($24.57 million) per day”.
Just one in five high-speed TGV trains was running Monday, and one in six on other mainline routes, while two-thirds of regional trains were cancelled.
About 20 percent of the Eurostar trains in and out of London have also been cancelled.
Pepy said Monday’s strike call saw much greater participation from workers, although more trains ran than previous strike days.
“From what I can see, France has not been paralyzed,” Pepy said, “but clients are being heavily penalized.”
This lost revenue adds €3 billion ($3.69 billion) to the company’s overall debt pile of €47 billion ($57.8 billion) every year.
Four labor unions have called for the industrial action against government plans to revamp the debt-laden SNCF ahead of being opened to competition in 2019.
Reforms also include the cancellation of a special status historically given to railway workers, which guarantees them a job for life and early retirement, for new employees.
The government has insisted it will not back down, while unions claim to have successfully highlighted their cause and won public support, with more than €510,000 pledged to a fund set up to compensate lost wages for striking workers.
However, an Ifop poll published Sunday by the Journal du Dimanche showed 62 percent of French people in favor of the SNCF reform.
Monday’s strike is scheduled to end at 8:00 pm, before resuming for another two-day stoppage on Friday.–AA

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