Will you be able to join your family by train for Christmas? SNCF announced this Wednesday, December 14 that train traffic would be “slightly disrupted” for departures during the Christmas holidays, this weekend, with “twenty TGVs removed” this Friday, December 18 due to a strike by switchmen at the call of Sud-Rail. As a reminder, SNCF signalmen are responsible for safety operations relating to the departure and the smooth running of trains. In summary, without them, no train can run. Their strike movement of SNCF signalmen is due to a better recognition of their profession and an improvement in their working conditions.

“At the national level, around twenty TGVs out of a total of 700 in circulation on Friday will be canceled”, announced the railway company, which provides for a “normal or almost normal service” for the TGVs East, North and South, and “near 9 trains out of 10 insured” for the TGV Atlantique, including “two trains out of three for the links between Paris and Bordeaux” because of the conflict of the signalmen, but also of a local movement of the drivers. SNCF, on the other hand, provides for almost normal traffic on Intercity trains and possible disruptions for Transiliens and TER.

The Minister Delegate for Transport, Clément Beaune, meanwhile again wanted to be “reassuring” about the strikes planned at the SNCF. “Overall, we will have trains mainly for French people and families this weekend,” he promised. I want to be reassuring, yes, most of the service will be provided”, he said on France Inter. The SNCF, however, invites travelers to be careful and to consult their usual information tools to check the circulation of their trains, the day before at 5 p.m.

However, the holiday rail travel problems are likely to be prolonged and cause train ticket cancellations, delays, exchanges and refunds on the user side. Indeed, the controllers also filed strike notices covering the Christmas and New Year weekends. However, the management of SNCF Voyageurs, which deals with train personnel in the public group, wanted to be reassuring. for a future agreement. She indeed qualified the exchanges which took place Thursday, December 8 with the unions and a collective of controllers of “positive and of good level”. “We are really not far from an agreement” despite “a few stumbling blocks”, assured Nicolas Limon, one of the founders of the collective.

SNCF Réseau has notably offered switchers “a fixed monthly allowance of 60 euros (gross)” paid from June 2023 and which will be permanent in order to recognize the specificities of the profession. A measure which would however be “far from responding to our demand (300 euros per month in cash for retirement and maintained in the event of incapacity)”, retorted SUD-Rail, which judges that these proposals “border on contempt”. The management also proposed to the unions to allocate to the signalmen a “discount of service” of ten minutes at each start of service while SUD-Rail asked for 20. Travelers could therefore be impacted to have their place in a train for the celebrations in view of the progress of the negotiations.