French trains cancelled and delayed due to strikes

French trains cancelled and delayed due to strikes
Gare du Nord in Paris on the platform marked for the Eurostar. Credit: Wikipedia

Employees of France's railway network operator SNCF went on strike on Wednesday, disrupting rail travel just days before the start of the summer recess during a time of social unrest due to rising inflation.

Three of the four main unions of SNCF, France's state-owned railway network, are taking part in the strikes, leading to the cancellation of one-third of intercity and regional train services. The walkout also impacted commuter trains in and out of Paris.

France has recently been rocked by strikes as workers in the energy sector and in Paris' airport, Roissy-Charles de Gaulle, have vented their anger over the high cost of living.

A political challenge

The social unrest comes as a challenge for President Emmanuel Macron, who lost his absolute majority in parliament in June, which could make passing legislation difficult for his centrist government.

Inflation in France rose to 6.5% in June caused by a steep increase in food and energy prices. This week, Macron's government will reveal proposals to bring inflation relief.

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Rail unions insist that salaries need to be adjusted for inflation and an increase to the minimum wage, as well as higher bonuses to make up for price rises.

Wednesday is meant to be the last day of the strike, although unions are discussing the next steps if their demands are not met.

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