Rail and air passengers face serious disruption next month. Managers in the rail sector have warned of “a serious impact” as staff protest against the change in status of SNCF – from a state enterprise to a private firm that’s state-owned – and the slimming down of the operator’s workforce.

Specifically, the change in SNCF’s legal status means that new employees are not eligible for special worker’s status that ensured rights such as a job for life, early retirement and special pension plans.

The militant CGT union is asking for a starting salary of 1,800 euros per month, automatic pay rises totalling 30 percent based on time spent working for the company, and the payment of a 13th salary at the end of each year.

A nationwide rail strike is due to take place on Thursday, July 1. Other strikes may take place with very little advance notice or none at all.

Meanwhile, air travel will be disrupted at Paris airports from July 1 until July 5 and most likely again later in the month as several unions protest at planned changes to terms of employment.

The July 1-5 strike coincides with the launch of the EU’s digital COVID Certificate, and is likely to cause flight cancellations and delays.

FILE PHOTO: Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris Reuters