Early this week, air traffic controllers chose to go on strike in France. This caused a number of delays and travel chaos all over Europe. Just as people were hoping that things would get back to normal, French rail workers went on strike on Thursday. This latest strike action is in retaliation of a new reorganization of the country’s national rail companies. It is not yet known just how many travellers are going to be affected.
So far, the strike has proven to be pretty affective. It started late Wednesday night, and by Thursday, nearly 70 percent of all rail services in France were cancelled, bringing travel practically to a standstill. This affected not only travel in France but also travel in other countries. The strike finally came to an end today (Friday), but the damage of the strike can still be seen.
Reports show that it was the commuter traffic in France that was hit the hardest. At a time when the French economy is still weak, the last thing the country needed was to have its travel come to a standstill. SNCF, which is the national railway company of France, did its best to limit the amount of cancellations it had. However, it is hard to run a railway without any workers. The company did its best to keep high-speed links between places like London and France open.
As said earlier, this strike came just after an air traffic controller strike. Apparently, this group of workers was protesting new plans by the European Union to simplify the continent’s patchwork. Due to this strike, thousands of different flights had to be cancelled all over France. This, of course, affected international passengers who were trying to fly into France for layovers.
Despite all of the flights that were cancelled, most airlines were returning to normal service by late Thursday afternoon. However, there are still some airlines that are struggling to make up for the backlog of passengers they have now. It is likely that some passengers will continue to have problems throughout the weekend.
Of course, the problems in France are far from over. Thanks to this new rail strike, travellers are having a hard time getting around the country. That being said, the French government does not seem to be backing down. In fact, it even went as far as to defend the new rail reform that so many workers are protesting against.
The junior minister for transport, Fredric Cuvillier, said that this new railway reform is going to result in a better infrastructure. It will make train services a lot more reliable, and that is what consumers want. The railway system is and will remain a very strategic part of the transportation system in France.
Either way, this fight between the government and rail workers has caused a lot of problems for travellers. Tons of people remain stuck at train stations around the country as they wait for updates on the situation. As with the airline issue, this is likely to be one problem that continues to cause hardships for people throughout the country.