French govt presses for national railway reform plan as unions waver

France’s government on Wednesday promised investment of €10 million (US$10 million) a day over a decade to prepare the SNCF national railway for Europe-wide liberalization in an effort to persuade labor unions to discuss a planned shake-up of the network. President Emmanuel Macron wants to scrap the job-for-life guarantees and other sizeable perks for all new hires at the SNCF, a bastion of organized labor since nationalization in the 1930s, Reuters reports. Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne’s offer followed a decision by the unions on Tuesday to continue with strike threats. However, some saw their plans to meet again in mid-March as proof of disunity. “Nobody has anything to gain from a protracted strike,” Borne told Europe 1 radio. She promised unions that consultations on the reform would start on Thursday and last for two months.