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CGT Rail Workers Union Calls Anti-Rail Reform Demonstration for Jan. 29

Translated Tuesday 6 January 2015, by Gene Zbikowski

The CGT federation of rail workers unions is calling a demonstration in Paris on Jan. 29 to condemn the “impact” of the rail reform and to obtain “talks” on its realization.

The CGT rail workers union is launching an action for Jan. 29 and a call to demonstrate against the reform voted in July, which came into force on Jan. 1. This mobilization aims to send “two messages,” according to Gilbert Garrel, the union’s general secretary. The first, “addressed to the government,” to which “we’re saying: ‘you’ve made a reform that is not financed, look at the effects today, the impact not only on jobs and on rail workers’ wages and working conditions, but also on rail users,’” because “a 2.6% rail fare hike is not a little thing!” According to Mr. Garrel, the budget which is to be presented to the company central committee on Jan. 6 and to the board of directors on Jan. 7 will officially confirm “a new worsening in employment, the closing of ticket counters and railroad stations, and cuts in the number of ticket inspectors on the trains.”

The second “slogan” is addressed to the national railroad company, the SNCF. “We’re demanding talks on the concrete realization of the reform (…) talks on the organization of the companies [which were created by the law on Jan. 1: behind the SNCF corporation mother company, two subsidiaries, SNCF Mobilités and SNCF Réseau – editor’s note] and on production in the regions,” Gilbert Garrel explained. According to Garrel, “management is trying to force their way through,” “they inform but they don’t discuss.”

The CGT rail workers union has “proposed to the other three representative trade unions that they join” this action and is awaiting their response “early in the week.” “Some job categories will probably be covered by a strike notice, but not those that ensure train traffic.” “There won’t be a strike called that creates conditions requiring the cancellation of trains,” pointed out Gilbert Garrel, the general secretary of the biggest union at the SNCF.

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