France is bracing for another Christmas of travel disruption after the state-owned railway operator SNCF was forced to cancel one in three TGV high-speed trains because of strikes.
The measures will be put in place on the evening of December 22, due to a strike notice by on-board client managers, according to the SNCF’s website. Roughly the same situation is expected December 24 and 25, SNCF said.
No disruption is expected for international travel on Thalys and Eurostar trains during the period, SNCF added, aside from that caused by U.K. strikes. There are currently no Eurostar trains scheduled for December 26 due to a strike at Britain’s Network Rail, though further walkouts planned for this week were called off December 21, after staff received an improved offer.
The walkouts are among many taking place across various industries — especially in the U.K. — as inflation spirals, and cost of living becomes harder to afford. While protests and demands for higher salaries are legitimate, there’s no justification for strikes at such a crucial time, French government spokesman Olivier Veran said in an interview on France Inter December 21.
Families are desperate to reunite after two difficult COVID-19-blighted Christmases, he said. “There should be no strikes but a truce for Christmas,” Veran said. “This is not the time to take the French hostage.”
SNCF has pledged to reimburse double the price of the lost tickets. Veran said he wasn’t yet in a position to estimate what the reimbursements will cost the company.
Air France-KLM’s French carrier also faces possible strikes later in December, although the airline has pledged to take all its clients to their destination nonetheless.
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