At the SNCF, the strike to denounce the renewed pension reform


SNCF trade unionists vote to renew the strike, at the Matabiau station in Toulouse, on March 9, 2023.

Going along platform 23 of the Gare de Lyon, in Paris, you come to a car park and a strange warehouse in the shape of a half-cylinder, with a breathtaking view of the warehouses of the old postal sorting, now Ground Control, a cultural and gastronomic third place. This is where every morning, at 11 a.m., the Paris Sud-Est intersyndicale meets, that of the railway workers who, among other things, drive the RER D and R. This is where, each day, they renew the strike by show of hands, and unanimously.

Read also: Strike against pension reform: for March 10, “strongly disturbed” traffic at SNCF, a “clear improvement” expected at RATP, except for commuter trains

Tuesday, March 7, it was impossible to miss the meeting: the Solidaire, Unitaire et Démocratique du Rail (SUD-Rail) trade unionists had first lit a fire of pallets to symbolize the picket, then those of the General Confederation of work (CGT) had ignited a pile of tires, giving off heavy black smoke, a threatening plume… which very quickly caused neighbors and firefighters to tumble. In the media, the coup was successful: the images were looped on different media. And underlined the strong mobilization in the company: 39% of strikers at the National Society of French Railways (SNCF).

Wednesday, March 8, the atmosphere was a little chilled. No more big fires, the militants had taken refuge inside the hangar, in the middle of the pallet trucks. Train drivers were 95% still on strike for RER D and H. “It’s great what happened yesterday.reminded everyone Fabien Villedieu, SUD-Rail union representative. We made a show of force. One of the biggest events since we count: more than 2019, 2010, 2003, 1995… And in the evening, what do we hear? What are the commentators saying? “It didn’t work that well, there are fewer strikers at the SNCF.” »

Fifty-six days and trauma

Angry, he calls out to politicians and experts: “But open your eyes, damn it! Six demonstrations in less than a month, including four that exceed one million, it’s historic “, he shouts. Taking over at the microphone, Berenger Cernon, from the CGT, recalls the next two highlights: the demonstration on Saturday 11 and the day of March 15. Between the two, it is important not to stop, he warns: “That’s how the movement was built in 1995.” Daniel Teirlynck, speaker for the National Union of Autonomous Trade Unions (UNSA), agrees and insists: “39%, we have not known such figures for a long time”. And 80 arms to rise to vote the strike.

Thursday, March 9, the group is a little more sparse. The day before, however, Berenger Cernon warned the agents: “The strike is hard, you shouldn’t be alone. Even if the Covid has changed habits, it’s easier if we’re together, if we talk to each other, if we come to general meetings, to demonstrations. » But the same morning, he had calls from colleagues. The fear for purchasing power and inflation are there. One stays home to save on childcare, the other on gas.

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