SNCF chief Guillaume Pepy insisted all trains will run in December despite a strike call by one of the main railway unions over working conditions and the introduction of new train timetables across 85 per cent of the network.
“If this strike goes ahead, which I don’t think it will, passengers will see it as a form of ‘hostage taking’ which is not completely untrue,” he said.
The new timetables will start on 11 December following a massive renovation of the railway network and will have an impact on the daily running of 15,000 trains.
The CFDT-Fgaac union called a strike for all the four weekends running up to Christmas and the New Year.
The union represents a quarter of train drivers and stands alone in calling for the strike.
The railway operator’s largest union, the CGT, says a strike will damage the public image of the company.
Meanwhile, SNCF aims to hire 10,000 people in 2012, one thousand more than originally estimated.
In total, SNCF and its private subsidiaries, employ more than 235,000 people.