France: Strike over Olympics bonuses disrupts Paris trains

At this train station near the Chateau de Versailles, no service Tuesday as across the Paris region, workers for the SNCF National Rail company go on strike. Rail workers are demanding Special Olympics bonuses that have already been approved for other sectors. Police officers working this summer will get up to €1900 pre tax, as will garbage collectors. Metro drivers will collect up to €2500 in bonuses, as will hospital doctors. SNCF staff working the Paris region's commuter rail lines, seeking the same bonus as their colleagues in the metro? We won't accept less. So far, they're offering nothing. So yes, we're ready to go as far as striking during the Olympic Games. It's not just the SNCF. Firefighters, too, are demanding an Olympics bonus. They went on strike last week. Paris airport workers are also striking Tuesday, though their walkout isn't expected to affect flight traffic. With less than 70 days to go before the opening ceremony, unions are flexing their muscles, especially in public services and state owned companies. Strike notices have been submitted. Clearly unions are putting pressure on the government. They're saying, Mr. Minister, everything will go fine, you just need to spend some money. SNCF executives say negotiations are ongoing.

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