On 22 March 2018, French railway unions held a massive demonstration in Paris.
The French government has failed to reduce the huge debt in the railway system. In an attempt to address this, the government has already reduced the French rail network. Now, the government is seeking to create an open market and reduce workers' social protections. French unions believe that the government intends to fully privatise the SNCF and create a new economic model.
Since France's freight market was opened up in May 2006, freight traffic has fallen by 30 percent. In 2006 the SNCF carried 40 billion tonne-kilometres (tkm). By 2017, 15 rail companies carried only 28 billion tkm. This accounted for 10 percent of the overall freight market in France, a 20 percent fall since 2000.
Competition is not a solution. Article 5 of EU Public Service Obligation Regulation states that when economic and quality of service conditions are met, public services contracts should continue to be directly awarded to a public operator.
The ITF stands by our French affiliates and their members in their campaign for public transport based on public ownership, public investment, secure jobs and union rights for workers.
French unions demand:
- to return to a single, integrated public company - SNCF
- the improvement of working conditions and the maintenance of the employment status of railway workers, which guards against social dumping in the industry.
The ITF Executive Board supports these demands, and stands in solidarity with our French affiliates, and the whole French union movement, who are united in fighting for the future of French rail and the workers it depends on.