Strike agenda: Chances are France will avoid impact during holidays
Strikes are the talk of the town, or better of the continent, again. France has been affected by them significantly during 2023. The country and its railway sector will probably avoid another major impact during the holiday season, following salary deals between two leading rail unions and SNCF.
That is the positive scenario. As Franceinfo reported, two major unions, CFDT and UNSA, have reached a salary agreement with SNCF, including a 4,6 per cent salary increase for 2024.
Yet, two other leading unions, CGT and Sud Rail, have not reached a similar agreement with the employing company. Proportionally, CGT has the lion’s share in representing workers at SNCF (about 32,44 per cent), with Sud Rail coming third (18,67 per cent). On the other hand, UNSA comes second and CFDT fourth. Theoretically speaking, if CGT and Sud Rail decide to strike, they will have most workers on their side.
Strike chances relatively low
In early November, Sud Rail allegedly asked the rest of the unions to go on strike at the end of the year to push for more salary increases. Nevertheless, CFDT and UNSA’s deals with SNCF served practically as a “no” response to the proposal. Could CGT and Sud Rail still go on strike, however?
French media report that the two unions could still go on strike around Christmas. However, the expectation, also expressed by SNCF, is that they will probably not do so since they recognise the immense impact such a decision could have on operations. On top of that, even if things escalate, having only CGT and Sud Rail go into industrial action would mean mass-scale disruptions would be avoided.