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New French rail strike Sunday, Monday

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A demonstrator with a placard supporting SNCF workers last month REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

French rail unions start another two-day strike on Sunday, with a call for a day without trains on Monday. Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne met two unions on Friday, while two others rejected her offer to discuss amending a reform plan they want scrapped in its entirety.


A ninth two-day strike will start on Sunday as unions pursue their battle against the reform, which has passed a first reading in the lower house of parliament and is to go to the Senate at the end of this month.

In an effort to revive flagging numbers of strikers, the unions have called for a "day without rail workers or trains" on Monday, with management warning there could be targeted disruption of services.

Two of them - the Unsa, which is the second largest in the company, and the CFDT, which is the fourth - met Borne separately on Friday and suggested amendments to the rail reform bill.

Borne praised them as "unions that wish to be forces of proposition", as opposed to the most widely supported union at the company, the CGT, and the third largest, Sud Rail.

Those two unions refused to meet Borne, although they did meet Prime Minister Philippe Edouard earlier in the week.

After meeting the minister, CFDT railworkers' union leader Sébastien Mariani commented that Borne was "ready to discuss" but that it was "too early to say there was progress".

Following a management-organised online vote on a pay offer at Air France, which led to the resignation of CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac when the vote went against him, rail unions have organised their own ballot on the rail reform, dubbed a "vot'action", next week.