French par­lia­ment set to ap­prove SNCF re­form in boon for Macron

Daily Messenger - - International -

PARIS: France’s par­lia­ment will ap­prove a bill on Wed­nes­day over­haul­ing the in­debted state-run rail com­pany SNCF, hand­ing a sig­nif­i­cant vic­tory to Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron in his bid to out­wit the unions and re­form the econ­omy.

The vote in the Na­tional As­sem­bly, where Macron’s Republique En Marche party has an ab­so­lute ma­jor­ity, is largely a for­mal­ity af­ter a com­mit­tee of the lower house of par­lia­ment and the Sen­ate agreed joint amend­ments to the leg­is­la­tion on Mon­day.

The Sen­ate up­per house will ap­prove the bill on Thurs­day.

It rep­re­sents the most fun­da­men­tal re­form of the 150,000-strong SNCF since rail na­tion­al­iza­tion in the 1930s. Dis­missed by some as an un­re­formable en­tity, Macron has taken on a challenge that de­feated pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions.

Con­ser­va­tive Prime Min­is­ter Alain Juppe had to with­draw wel­fare re­forms in 1995 af­ter weeks of strikes and so­cial un­rest led by rail workers.

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