The discontent continues over the pension reform. Could the social movement spoil the winter holidays of part of the French? New actions were announced on Tuesday, January 24, for next month, including a possible renewable strike at the SNCF. “From the moment the government stubbornly persists in what causes conflict, there is the possibility of days of action during the school holidays”, had already noted the secretary general of the CGT Philippe Martinez, Sunday on RTL.
The railway branch of the union brandished, on Tuesday, the threat of a renewable strike “from mid-February” if the government does not withdraw its project, in a joint leaflet with SUD-Rail. The two organizations, in the majority at the SNCF, initially called for two days of action at the SNCF on February 7 and 8. These dates would affect the winter holidays, even if the unions have ensured that the mobilization does not fall during a weekend of great departure. They start on the 4th for two weeks in zone A (including the academies of Bordeaux and Lyon), the 11th for zone B (a large part of the north of the country, including Lille, Strasbourg and Nantes) and the 18th for zone C , including Paris, Versailles and Toulouse, for a return to school on March 6.
It is difficult to predict the extent of the mobilization ten days before the first departures. In the meantime, a second day of demonstrations is planned for the 31st. The four representative unions at the SNCF have called on the railway workers to join the strike movement “massively”. There is currently no official call to strike within the RATP. The mobilization could cause many disturbances, after the success of the demonstrations of January 19. SNCF traffic had been severely disrupted, with between one in three and one in five trains depending on the TGV lines. The regional network had meanwhile seen only one train in ten. In air, the movement had resulted in the preventive cancellation of one in five flights at Paris-Orly.
“On the holidays, the trade unions have not yet made their decision, I have heard the statements of Philippe Martinez”, underlined the Minister Delegate for Transport Clément Beaune, Tuesday on franceinfo. According to him, we need “respect and responsibility” even if “we obviously have the right to strike”. But “we must also take into account the galleys of the French, the holidays which are expected by many families who have sometimes struggled at Christmas”, he pleaded. For its part, FO Transports and logistics, whose members are truck, bus or ambulance drivers, called on Tuesday for a one-hour strike per day and, if its demands were not heard, also mentioned the prospect of an “unlimited strike in all our sectors”.
Another worrying announcement for the resorts: a threat of a strike by ski lift employees. The two main unions of these professionals have indeed filed strike notices for January 31. The objective: to protest against the pension reform project but also against the modification of the unemployment insurance scheme for seasonal workers. Presented as “unlimited” and concerning 17,000 seasonal workers in France, this notice aims, according to FO, to respect the legal deadlines to “allow seasonal workers to participate in the next day of mobilization against the pension reform which should be decided for one day in February “.
So many signs that worry mountain tourism professionals, who are betting on winter 2022-2023 to regain their footing after two seasons marked by the pandemic, in a context also of exploding energy costs. “Of course I understand this concern,” said the Minister for Tourism on Tuesday. Olivia Gregoire, during the Destination Montagnes show in Chambéry. “This concern is legitimate […] according to the information I have, we are on a blockage on January 31, to date, so we are not talking, to date, of a mobilization which would of course prevent tourists from enjoying but also economic actors from recovering “, wanted to reassure Olivia Grégoire. At the microphone of franceinfothe minister said to call “to respect the holidays”.
This renewable strike in the middle of the winter holidays is an opportunity for the executive to reflect on the question of minimum service, which would bring the transport strikers into a new “framework”. Clément Beaune put on the table the idea of a device established by the law of 2007 on the continuity of the public service with the aim of “anticipation” of the follow-up of the strike. However, the executive remains cautious: the minister has swept away the possibility of requisition which represents for him “the last resort when you have a deadlock situation which threatens the vital functioning of the country.”
It should be noted that only 10% of French people systematically go on vacation every winter and 7% every other year, according to a study by the Research Center for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions (Credoc) dating from 2010. And 44% of these trips are in the mountains.