Trains Grind To A Halt As Strikes Grip France

Railway Strike
(AFP) – Transport chaos hit France again on Wednesday, just nine days ahead of Euro 2016, as railway workers went on strike in the latest salvo of a months-long battle between the government and unions. Between a third and half of France’s trains were expected to grind to a halt, as workers from railway operator SNCF launched their eighth strike in three months, this time saying it will continue until demands for better pay and conditions are met. The action has piled further pressure on the already deeply unpopular Socialist government, which has been besieged by months of protests and work stoppages over a controversial labour reform bill. Metro workers in the capital were planning to walk off the job from Thursday and Air France pilots have threatened a lengthy strike in the coming weeks, when the Euro 2016 football tournament is in full swing. “This week will see the strongest mobilisation in three months” of strikes, the head of the powerful CGT union Philippe Martinez said on Tuesday evening. Since March, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in demonstrations that have frequently turned violent, while petrol pumps ran dry last week due to blockades of