The eight million workers from 142 unions in 78 countries of the ITF railway section family have pledged support for the four French unions starting an unlimited strike on the railways on 5 December 2019.
Due to come into effect on 1 January 2020, the unions say the rail reform will lower conditions for rail workers, cut wages and restrict union rights.
The plan to open up railways to competition will lead to outsourcing, including in the maintenance sector. On this, the ITF solidarity letter to the French unions states: “These strategies are the same all over the world, and lead to the same results: the destruction of a part of the rail system.”
Furthermore, the unions are unhappy at a plan to change the way that pensions are funded. They say the proposed pension reform will result in lower pensions and will not solve the issues faced by part-time workers, very often women. The current French-style social protection system is a “system most people envy because of the nature of its funding and its intergenerational solidarity”, the ITF letter says.