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Energy workers join striking French rail staff

Energy workers join striking French rail staff
Pilots' unions also announce four days of action to coincide with Euro 2016 football finals

PARIS (AA) - France’s national rail strike entered its second day Thursday, with operators reporting around half of the country’s trains not running.

In a bid to exert further pressure on the government over proposed labor law reforms, the CGT union announced fresh strikes at power stations around the country.

The strikes came as France prepares for the arrival of thousands of football fans for the Euro 2016 finals next week.

The rail strike, launched on Tuesday evening, has affected four out of 10 high-speed TGV train routes and two-thirds of inter-city lines, state railway SNCF said.

The company said just over 15 percent of staff had participated in the action, compared to 17 percent on Wednesday.

Transport Minister Alain Vidalies said the Metro, trams and buses in Paris were running as normal.

He also told the France Info radio station there would be no disruption to air travel this weekend after air traffic controllers called off a planned strike. The strike would have led to thousands of cancellations and delays if it had gone ahead.

However, three pilots’ unions later said they would strike between June 11 and 14 over looming pay cuts.

At 16 of France’s 19 power stations, workers walked out on Wednesday night, forcing employer EDF to source energy from neighboring countries.

In a statement, the CGT said the action was borne of “the stubbornness of the government”. The union orchestrated similar action at energy plants last week, leading to shortages as petrol stations as oil refineries were forced to reduce output.

On Tuesday, CGT leader Philippe Martinez said this week’s strikes would be the “strongest mobilization in three months” of industrial action against the draft “El Khomri law” - named for Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri.

The union’s claim it will pave the way for fundamental changes in labor law at the expense of workers.

The reform bill is due to be debated at the Senate from June 13. The unions have already filed a notice for a national general strike set for June 14, four days after the football tournament begins.

source: News Feed
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