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Strike disrupts rail traffic across France for a second day

Published on Jun 12, 2014 7:16 PM
 
Commuters wait for a train during a nationwide strike by French SNCF railway workers at Marseille train station, June 12, 2014. Half of scheduled train journeys across France were cancelled on Thursday in the second day of a strike against a planned rail reform, bringing some of the worst disruption to the country's rail network in years. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) - Half of scheduled train journeys across France were cancelled on Thursday in the second day of a strike against a planned rail reform, bringing some of the worst disruption to the country's rail network in years.

The strike action risked being extended for a third day after trade unions said an emergency meeting with representatives of President Francois Hollande's government had ended in a stalemate.

Unions want the government to abandon a planned reform that would pull the service operator SNCF and the rail network RFF into a single holding structure but nonetheless preserve them as separate entities.

They instead want the two to be fully merged into a single operation, as was the case until 1997, and for the government to take on some 40 billion euros (S$67.7 billion) of debt owed by the companies. "We are very angry with the contempt shown by the government," SUD-Rail unionist Nathalie Bonnet told BFM TV after leaving talks with junior Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier. "We have made no progress," she said.

 
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