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FRANCE

French railway unions call for open-ended strikes

Text by: NEWS WIRES
2 min

France's rail unions on Wednesday called for open-ended strikes in protest at the centre-right government's unpopular pension reform. The strikes' start on Oct. 12 will coincide with national strikes already planned that day.

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REUTERS - France's rail unions on Wednesday called open-ended strikes from Oct. 12, adding to national strikes already planned that day in an escalation of protests over the centre-right government's unpopular pension reforms.

The call, at a time when austerity has put unions on a war footing elsewhere in Europe, follows a series of one-day protests against President Nicolas Sarkozy's flagship reform and came after a meeting of rail unions in Paris.

"At this stage, we have no choice but to go radical," said

Bruno Duchemin, a spokesman for the CFDT-Fgaac union, one of the main unions at the SNCF state rail company along with the CGT.

Unions have also called for open-ended strikes on Paris's urban transport network on Oct. 12 and thereafter.

Nationwide street marches drew a big turnout on Saturday and the transport strikes raise the stakes for the next scheduled wave of national protests and strikes on Oct. 12 over plans to raise the retirement age to 62 from 60.

Additionally, the CGT union's energy industry branch called on Tuesday too for an open-ended strike in the power sector.

In France, rolling or open-ended strikes are for the large part organised by serving notice of 24-hour stoppages that are renewed each day before expiry.

 

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