The SNCF, the French railway company, has proposed a salary increase of 4.6% on average for its employees in 2024, including a 1.8% general increase. Additionally, the company has committed to increasing low wages so that none of them is lower than 1.1 minimum wage and a value-sharing bonus of 400 euros to be paid to its over 140,000 railway workers.
The two largest unions representing railway workers, CFDT-Cheminots and Unsa-Ferroviaire, have announced their intention to sign the proposed agreement. According to a press release from CFDT-Cheminots, after consulting members and management structures, they are clear in their decision to sign the agreement. Unsa-Ferroviaire also stated that it would also sign the agreement. However, SUD-Rail and CGT-Cheminots have opposed the agreement and called on SNCF management to reopen negotiations due to weaknesses in their proposals.
SUD-Rail described the management’s proposals as “indecent” and “contemptuous” in view of the accumulated salary dispute with workers. The unions have until November 22th evening to sign the agreement. If no majority is achieved by then, SNCF did not guarantee that all provisions of the agreement will be applied uniformly throughout its organization last year. However, only CFDT-Cheminots signed on salaries for 2023 despite a lack of majority support from other unions or SNCF management itself.
The new general secretary of CGT-Cheminots Thierry Nier was elected recently and expressed his disappointment at the management’s proposal stating that it was too little too late after years of being ignored by SNCF management.
In conclusion, while there is opposition from some unions like SUD-Rail and CGT-Cheminots who want more significant increases or better working conditions, it seems that most railway workers will benefit from this proposal as it offers both salary increase and better working conditions for many employees.
It will be interesting to see if other unions follow suit or if they continue with their protests against SNCF management’s proposals.