Railway Workers Continue to be the Locomotive of Grevin in France

railway workers in France continue to be the locomotive of the strike
railway workers in France continue to be the locomotive of the strike

We are attending a meeting of railway workers striking anti-pension reform. Çiler The fight for future generations is the most justified, çiler the workers unanimously decide to devam continue the strike ”.

The day is Tuesday, December 24, around 10 in the morning. The next day the Christmas holiday and the folks rush around to get their latest presents. The media continues its anti-strike propaganda for weeks and is constantly repeating the sad portraits of children and families who cannot go on vacation because of the stopped trains.

UniversalAccording to the news of Diyar Çomak from At the time of writing this article, 14 metro lines were still closed in Paris, only automatic lines were operating normally (Metro 1 and 14 were automatic lines without drivers), and 50 percent of TGVs (High Speed ​​Train) providing intercity lines were not operating. At the strikers' meeting we attended, the railroad workers again emphasize that they will be on strike until the retirement bill is withdrawn.


Location is Paris, or rather Lyon Station. There are more than 100 million domestic and foreign passengers passing through here each year, a main line that serves the southeast of France; even the third largest train station in France. Switzerland, Geneva, Lausanne, Basel and Zurich; Turin, Milan and Venice in Italy; An international station providing connections with Girona and Barcelona in Spain.

At the end of platform 23, railway workers gathered and discuss the continuation of the general strike, which they will soon approve. Steady on. It's not just Christmas Eve today. On the 5th day and the beginning of the general strike against the pension bill on 20 December, railway workers have been at the forefront. Since the beginning of the government, strikers have continued to smear the operation, trying to create the feeling that the ordeal suffered by the citizens in trains and subways is due to the workers. But what he did was unsuccessful, as the support for the strikers in all the polls is at 60 percent. Even this shows how much the government has failed. Among the gathered workers there is a festive atmosphere; cheerful and smiling. This is because they are determined not to fight for Christmas, but also for their important support from society. Citizens 'donations from the CGT (General Business Confederation) to the strikers' aid and solidarity vault have exceeded 1m euros.


One of the important points of pension reform is that it eliminates 42 private pension regimes in the current system and introduces a single “point procedure” system. Civil servants, SNCF and RATP (railway workers), EDF (more than 80 percent French state electricity supplier and electricity producer) or Paris Opera… The government wants to eliminate different pension systems, each of which is managed by autonomous funds that take into account the originality of the professions. In fact, the government wants to align pension regimes in the public sector with respect to the private sector. These attempts have been brought up several times and by different governments before, but they were repulsed after great struggles. The 1995 strikes are an important example. In Jacques Chirac's presidency, this was again the most important point in the social security reform package that Prime Minister Alain Juppé defended, and France was completely paralyzed for 3 weeks; all public sectors were on strike, youth was on the streets and supported the social movement. As a result of the strikes, the government had to step back.

Again, this “reform acak will be bad for everyone for at least two reasons. First: With this change, the calculation of pension for all sectors will inevitably be counterproductive. The second issue is that the value of the “score önceden is not known in advance, every year the government will determine it by a decree, so nobody will know how much pension they can get until a year ago. What is important here is that the reform will be a significant setback for workers in all areas (public or private), and that railway workers continue to strike for “everyone” and future generations. That's what every railroad worker we talked about.


First of all, it should be noted that the word “railway worker”, the French word “cheminot”, was first used to refer to the employees of the railway companies that “walk” along the tracks. Today, this concept defines any person employed by a railway company: signaler, driver, mechanic, maintenance worker, operator, station chief… The railway company has diversified and has changed a lot with the modernization of railways.

We ask Sébastien Picca, a member of the CGT union, who has been on strike for 20 days, asking why the government's propaganda against the strikers in general is keskin sharper over the railway workers:. According to them, reasonable people call for the end of the strike. They especially emphasize the year-end feast period. I hope people don't fall into this trap. The facts are far from the government's propaganda and clichés against railway workers, we are not monsters. On the contrary, our struggle favors solidarity and we are with the passengers. The media shows angry passengers in trains and subways from morning to evening, crowds in transportation, and people who can't meet their families for Christmas. The rulers of the country call on strikers to be 'responsible'. Let them fulfill their responsibilities. We have declared a strike indefinitely, and the responsibility for this spark lies primarily with the state. This law should be withdrawn, '' which will be harmful for everyone.

One of the propaganda of the government and the media is that the railway workers' retirement regime "provides earlier separation and a more comfortable retirement than the rest of the population". É The pension system in France is one of the most progressive systems in the world, S says Sébastien. This is based on many historical trade union and workers' struggles. The fact that there are special regimes and that each professional branch takes into account its own challenges is a progressive and modern attitude, even if they want us to believe. We are struggling not to lose these rights. We work at nights, weekends and shifts. But we do this strike for everyone, not for ourselves. I came here with my child, our struggle for them. I lose 100 euros a day on strike, but I'm still here. We do this strike for the collective, for our beliefs, and most importantly for our children. ”

Approaching with Thomas, the freight train driver and also a member of the SUD-Rail union, sohbetWe continue our work. Thomas says: “They want to focus the pressure of the movement on the railway workers because the railway workers have stopped life in a significant way from the beginning. I'm a freight train driver and driving a 2-ton train is not as simple as it seems. For example, braking a train is very special, it takes time to react. It requires a considerable distance. We are responsible for our train and the trains around us. You should know all the procedures behind these. If you disobey a signal, you risk colliding with a train in front of you and risking the lives of hundreds of people. You should also know how to repair your machine or wagon when it breaks down. There is a lot to know like the security rules. These are not things to do at all ages. ''


French President Emmanuel Macron called on rail workers to take a break from their strikes for Christmas and New Year, while calling for saygı respect for the lives of families ”. But on the contrary, strikers who take action against pension reform want to tutmak keep the fire alive de during the holidays.

We need to specify; these are attempts to overturn public support for strikers, because the public is supporting the movement, despite the fact that they have deployed enormous propaganda devices, which bothers government officials. According to the railway workers, the strike will continue because the government refuses to back down and will not negotiate with them unless they impose a reform that no one wants.

In an interview with Humanite newspaper, CGT Railway Federation Secretary General Laurent Brun stated: “Yes, instead of living in misery in retirement, we prefer to suffer for a few days, a few weeks. This is what we defend. We wish this conflict to be as short as possible. But it is the government that provokes this situation and attacks even more. Therefore, it is the government responsible for today, and that is what everyone should understand. All employees must take action so that we can end this conflict by taking a step back in this government. ”


SohbetAfter our s, the workers' meeting begins. It has now become a tradition for the French working class; The unions do not decide whether the strike will take place or not, the workers on strike meet every morning and when necessary, after speaking in favor and against, it is decided by open voting whether the strike will continue or not. Fabien Villedieu, director of Söze Sud-Rail union, begins: “There is a historical issue behind our struggle, so there is the issue of retirement. Tonight is Christmas Eve. Hope everyone can have fun. We know what it means to work on Christmas and New Year's days, and we know what it is to talk to our children on the phone remotely during holidays. I think of all my colleagues; Enjoy spending time with your children and families thanks to the strike tonight. Hug and hug them. And we don't care if we have to lose 2 euros, because we are fighting for our children, and there is no more just, more noble struggle than the fight for future generations. "

Then, Béranger Cernon, CGT-Cheminots Union Manager, emphasized the need to strengthen the struggle: “We have spent the Christmas holiday at least twice. Away from our families. Our struggle will go down in history. Our current pension system is a historical legacy, the legacy of the struggles of the people who founded it. ”

“The important thing is to hold onto the struggle because we have so much to lose. We cannot leave our pension system in the hands of the finance world. They only see the financial side. We see our lives, our future and the future of our children. We struggle with our hearts and hearts. I've never been so proud to be a trade unionist and railroader, if we're alone, we're nothing, but we're everything when we're together. Even if we lose our struggle, we can at least look in the mirror and say, 'I was there, I lived this moment, I was proud of the fight, we didn't give up anything even if it was difficult.' ”

Then the vote is passed and the workers decide in full unity to continue the strike. Their children, along with their arms, raise their hands and support their father's strikes. At Christmas this year, their father may not have received the gift they wanted, but the light shining in their eyes reflects how proud they are of their fighting father.

Railway workers continue to be the locomotive of the struggle. Who can do that better than them anyway?

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