Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Strike season - auf wiedersehen for awhile Bernie Gunther

It's strike season in Paris...then again it's always time for a strike in Paris. This season it's the union of SNCF, the national railway, and Air France and probably other unions who will strike in sympathy. Of course, it's school holidays in France  when families travel so obligingly the national train service has issued a schedule to help passengers navigate around strike days.
The unions took the step of announcing the dates on which they plan to strike, which will total 36 days.This follow a one day walk out in March that was held to coincide with a strike by the civil servants all over France.  This industrial action led to 60 percent of TGV high speed trains being cancelled as well as half of normal train services. RER commuter services from the Paris suburbs were also hit by cancellations and delays.
The impact on rail services including TGVs and other trains won't be known until a day or two before the strikes when SNCF will know how many workers have answered the unions call to walk out.
Their aim is to bring the country to a standstill and hope the public turns against the government as it happened in 1995 when a rail strike last several weeks and paralyzed France and forced the ministers to back down. I remember it as a time when people became friendlier, stayed at friend's flats and ride shared and took up roller blading to work

The national railway has announced that they will not be selling train tickets for those days in April when rail workers are due to strike.
The calendar below highlights in blue the days when rail workers will be on strike. The days with a red circle underneath are for when Air France staff are also due to walk out which will cause headaches for plane passengers. I'm hoping I'm not one.

I'm going to Marseilles on a non-strike day - crossing fingers nothing changes.

If I get on the train I'll be reading one of my favourite authors, the late Philip Kerr, who passed away a few weeks just before his current book - Greeks Bearing Gifts came out. I've started re-reading all his Bernie Gunther books and it's an engrossing bittersweet time. Do you ever go back and re-read books? For me, it's kind of like a grieving process that hits me deeply.  His editor said that he finished his last book before he passed and it will come out next year.
Cara - Tuesday crossing fingers


  1. Cara, fingers crossed for you. I know of these strikes. I once left Naples a day early to avoid one, and flew straight into one at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.

    I will be joining you in rereading Philip Kerr. It’s good to know he finished the next one too. But too sad as well.

  2. Hopefully, Cara, the strike won't last long enough for you to re-read all of George Simenon's books.