Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PRESS

‘Asia Weinstein’ Italian press relishes Argento assault allegations

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Jacob Zuma corruption scandal: Influence-peddling inquiry opens

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#MeToo accuser accused in turn

Read more

THE DEBATE

Venezuela's meltdown

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Greece turns the page on eight years of bailout programmes

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'A lot of IS group fighters are underground,' says US-led coalition spokesman

Read more

FOCUS

Surviving hyperinflation in Venezuela

Read more

IN THE PRESS

'A #MeToo leader made deal with her own accuser'

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Indigenous peoples: Fighting discrimination

Read more

French MPs adopt signature Macron rail reform

© AFP/File | A commuter sits on a bench at the Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris in April 2018, as French rail workers launched another two-day strike over plans to overhaul the national state-owned railway company SNCF

PARIS (AFP) - 

French lawmakers on Wednesday overwhelmingly backed a controversial reform of indebted state rail operator SNCF, handing President Emmanuel Macron a key victory in his battle with trade unions.

The vote in the National Assembly is a blow to the labour movement, which staged three months of rolling strikes over the bill, the longest industrial action in over 30 years on French railways.

Members of the lower house of parliament, where Macron's party has an overwhelming majority, adopted the bill by 452 votes for to 80 against.

Analyst have compared the standoff between the government and railworkers with Margaret Thatcher's showdown with British miners in the 1980s.

Train drivers particularly had resisted plans to deny job and pension guarantees to new SNCF recruits, along with plans to turn the SNCF into a joint-stock company, which they see as a covert first step toward privatisation.

The government says the heavily-indebted SNCF needs to cut costs and improve flexibility before the EU passenger rail market opens up to competition.

Polls showed voters largely on board with the changes.

© 2018 AFP