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Labour strike bites harder in France as rail workers join standoff



Labour strike bites harder in France as rail workers join standoff
The current strike action embarked upon by labour unions in France is currently biting harder as rail workers joined the standoff thereby halting about half of all French train services on Wednesday in a dispute over working time.
This follows a standoff between the militant CGT union and the Socialist government over a proposed labour law reform which has been dragging on for weeks now.
The SNCF state railway said six out of 10 high-speed TGV trains were running, along with one-third of other inter-city services and half of regional trains. Heavy flooding also cut some lines in central France and the rail link to Luxembourg.
SNCF said 17 per cent of its staff were on strike, up slightly from a previous strike last week, and forecast similar levels of traffic for Thursday. The CGT is also on strike at oil refineries and one-fifth of petrol stations are short of fuel.
The Socialist government played down the disruption and stuck to its refusal to withdraw the planned labour reform, designed to make hiring and firing easier and encourage negotiations on flexibility at company level.

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