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French unions call off railway strike for New Year holiday weekend



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French national railway operator SNCF said unions had dropped their threat to strike over the upcoming New Year’s holiday weekend after reaching an agreement with management.

The protests have caused headaches for French tourists and the government, who are struggling to cope with growing discontent in France from public sector workers who are demanding working conditions and wages are better when inflation increases.

While the deal is good news for travellers, no such agreement has been reached with ticket controllers who have called strike on Christmas weekend – resulting in mass train cancellations and disruption to the holiday plans of hundreds of thousands of travelers.

The Christmas rail strike was coordinated by a collective of unofficial train managers on Facebook, with no union support, and the strikers made no public statements.

Transport Minister Clement Beaune said on Thursday that the shutdown would cost the SNCF an estimated 100 million euros, while describing the strike as “incomprehensible and unjustified”.

The French rail operator has offered to refund double the face value of canceled tickets if travelers are unable to book a replacement.

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AFP)

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