French rail unions take on Macron with mass rolling strikes

A Syrian man waves to Turkish soldiers securing the streets of the northwestern city of Afrin Syria during a Turkish government-organised media tour into northern Syria Saturday

French rail workers kicked off three months of rolling strikes on April 3, part of a wave of industrial action that will test President Emmanuel Macron's resolve to reshape France with sweeping reforms.rench rail workers kicked off three months of rolling strikes on April 3, part of a wave of industrial action that will test President Emmanuel Macron's resolve to reshape France with sweeping reforms.

At the capital's busy Gare du Lyon station, the platforms were so crammed that a woman fell onto the tracks and had to be helped out by fellow passengers. The strikes of 1995 paralysed France and forced prime minister Alain Juppe to pull the reforms - a defeat from which he did not recover and that led to then-president Jacques Chirac dissolving the government.

Other sectors could join the strike as it continues in protest at broader changes to labor laws proposed by Macron.

SNCF manager Guillaume Pepy, mentioned: "I have to be really clear ... the strike activity will definitely be thoroughly complied with as well as his mosting likely to make the lives of many various other individuals really challenging".

The trade unions met in the morning and made a decision to continue the strike tomorrow, complying with the announced schedule.

France's national train company is warning that a workers' strike will disrupt train service within France and elsewhere in Europe today and tomorrow.

The reforms include opening lines to competition in the public sector and stripping newly recruited rail workers of a special status guaranteeing jobs for life and early retirement, reports Efe news.

1146 rebels, families evacuate Douma district in Syria's Eastern Ghouta
It was the first organized evacuation of fighters from Douma, which has held out against government forces through 7 years of war. The fighters were expected to head to Jarablus, a town in northern Syria shared by rebels and Turkish forces.

A majority of French people view the strikes as unjustified, according to an Ifop poll published on Sunday. Only one in eight high-speed TGV trains ran and global services were severely affected too. Only one in every three trains to Germany is operating, while three out of four Eurostar trains - which connect London, Paris, and Brussels - are running.

No trains were set to run between France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

Macron wants to transform SNCF, which adds €3 billion to its 47 billion euro debt pile each year, into a profit-maker. This time around, however, all main trade unions in France have backed the railway strike.

A simultaneous strike by Air France staff has not affected flights.

SCNF said the strike would affect 85 per cent of France's high-speed trains and 75 per cent of regional trains.

Further walkouts are planned for April 7, 10 and 11.

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