Strike Hits France’s Rail Services Hard

Strike Hits France’s Rail Services Hard

France's rail network has been severely disrupted, as a wave of strikes against President Emmanuel Macron's labour reforms gets under way.

The start of the strike has been dubbed "Black Tuesday," but the action will spread over three months, affecting two days in every five, report the BBC and the Daily Mail.

Staff at state railway SNCF are leading the strike, but the energy and waste collection sectors are also affected.

The unrest presents Macron's biggest challenge since his election last May.

With the four main rail unions observing the strike, services have been severely curtailed. Some 77 percent of SNCF drivers are on strike, and 48 percent of all staff.

Only one in eight high-speed TGVs are scheduled and only one in five regional trains.

A third of Eurostar trains between London and Paris have been canceled. One in four Eurostar services connecting the UK with France and Brussels, as well as Disneyland Paris, will not run during strike days, affecting some 29,000 people.

Five services from London to Paris and two services from London to Brussels and Lille, have been cancelled today and Wednesday, with trains to Disneyland re-routed.

The strike is expected to be the biggest walkout in years, with half of all rail staff are expected to take part in two days of strikes in every five days until June.

France's four main rail unions are protesting Macron's attempt to reform the national rail monopoly and open it up to EU competition.

Commuter lines into Paris will be hit hard and only one in eight high-speed TGVs will operate, state rail operator SNCF has said.

No trains will run between France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain and only one in every three trains to Germany will operate, the SNCF said.

Alain Krakovitch, director general of SNCF's Transilien suburban network, that covers the French capital, said the cost of the strikes was nationally "between 10 and 20 million euros a day."

Image credit: Reuters