Strikes Set to Hit French Rail Freight for Several Months

Intermittent strikes at French state railway SNCF over the next few months are expected to hit France’s domestic and international rail freight sector hard and significantly impact the logistics operations of key customers, industry sources warn.

Unions are planning 36 days of industrial action between now and mid-June in protest against government public-sector reforms targeting railway workers’ employment rights. The planned stoppages will work out at two consecutive days of strikes on a weekly basis, the first of which started on April 3.

Fret SNCF warned shippers last week to reduce their orders for train capacity and said few international services were operating to or transiting France during the April 3-4 48-hour stoppage in order to offset backlogs building up.