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France

Rail unions call for strike on May 26

Latest update : 2009-05-15

The four unions of French rail company SNCF plan to strike on May 26, in order to coincide with the national day of protest decided on by France's other major unions against the government's handling of the economic crisis.

AFP - French rail unions plan to organise a strike on May 26 to coincide with a nationwide day of protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's handling of the economic crisis, union officials said Friday.

The four unions representing workers at the state-owned SNCF rail operator will serve official notice of the work stoppage beginning on Monday May 25 in the evening until early Wednesday May 27.

"We are part of the broad movement but we also have demands that only concern the SNCF," said Didier Le Reste of the CGT, France's biggest union.

These include demands for better pay and pension benefits, negotiations over the privatisation of SNCF freight services and improving industrial relations, he said.

France's eight unions have called for a day of protest on May 26 and on June 13 to press demands for job security during the economic crisis that has sent unemployment soaring.

After more than one million people took to the streets in demonstrations earlier this year, Sarkozy offered to boost some social security benefits but he has refused to back down from his plan to cut public sector jobs.

Date created : 2009-05-15