Europe: The employees of the France Railways network operator SNCF went on strike on Wednesday, disrupting rail travel just days before the start of the summer recess during a time of social unrest because of the increase in inflation.
About three of the four main unions of SNCF, France’s state-owned railway network, are participating in the strikes, leading to the cancellation of one-third of intercity and regional train services. The walkout also impacted the commuter trains in and out of Paris.
Strikes have recently rocked France as workers in the energy sector and in Paris’ airport, Roissy-Charles de Gaulle, have vented their anger over the high cost of living.
Moreover, the social unrest comes as a challenge for present Emmanuel Macron, who lost his absolute majority in parliament in the month of June, which could make passing legislation difficult for his centrist government.
The inflation in France increased to 6.5 percent in June, caused by a steep increase in food and energy prices. This week, Macron’s government will reveal proposals to bring inflation relief.
Along with this, Rail unions insist that salaries need to be adjusted for inflation and an increase to the minimum wage and higher bonuses to make up for the increase in price.
Furthermore, Wednesday is meant to be the previous day of the strike, although unions discuss the following steps if their demands are not fulfilled.