PARIS (Reuters) - Striking French Rail workers disrupted train services for the ninth day this month on Monday, turning a deaf ear to the centrist government’s insistence that the state-run SNCF and other neglected public services are in need of reform.
“We have not paid enough attention to some public services for years, or even decades,” Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud told Europe 1 radio.
“Emmanuel Macron was elected because people want things to improve, on the economic, social and unemployment fronts.”
SNCF boss Guillaume Pepy, who backs the shake-up of the heavily indebted company, on Sunday said the Strike was slowly losing its momentum, citing a falling number of train drivers taking part in the industrial action.
Philippe Martinez, leader of the hard-left CGT union, the most muscular inside the SNCF but whose influence nationwide is waning, accused Pepy of manipulating statistics.
While the government says it will remain 100 percent state-owned, unions fear that opens the door to privatization, as happened after similar changes at France Telecom, now called Orange.
The SNCF bill will now go to the Senate and the process of parliamentary approval is expected to conclude by early July.
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