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French railways return to normal as strike crumbles

media Strikers in the western city of Nantes this week Reuters/Stephane Mahe

The French rail strike was crumbling Saturday as mass meetings in a number of cities voted to go back to work. Rail management predicted almost normal service over the weekend.

Only the Ile de France region around Paris was suffering significant disruption on Saturday, according to the SNCF state rail operator.

Predictions for Saturday and Sunday were:

  • Six out of 10 trains in Ile de France;
  • Mainline trains running south-east almost normal;
  • Eight out of 10 TGVs from Paris to the west on Saturday, all TGVs running Sunday;
  • Six out of 10 intercity trains on Saturday, seven out of 10 on Sunday.

Mass meetings have voted to return to work iin Toulouose, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lille, Lyon, Marseille and Le Mans.

Meetings in Ile de France, Picardy and central France voted to continue the strike on Friday.

Strasbourg was due to vote on Saturday.

At 10 days the strike, called to oppose a reform plan that made it through the lower house of parliament on Thursday, has been the longest since 2010.

The government claims that amendments adopted by the National Assembly address the strikers’ concerns about the unification of the two current rail companies and their conditions of employment.

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