16:46 GMT +317 July 2018
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    A meeting of the National Assembly (lower house of parliament) in France

    French National Assembly Passes Rail Reform Bill Amid Ongoing Strikes

    © Sputnik / Irina Kalashnikova
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    PARIS (Sputnik) - France’s National Assembly passed a controversial bill on reforming the state-owned SNCF railway company, which has caused massive strikes by railway workers.

    After the National Assembly, the bill has yet to pass through the Senate. The French government expects that the law will be adopted before parliamentarians leave for summer holidays.

    READ MORE: French PM Reaffirms Will to Reform Railways Sector After Two Days of Strikes

    The reform aims to open the railway sector, currently monopolized by the SNCF, to competition and put an end to the special status of railroad workers, which gives them the right to certain perks, such as early retirement and job security.

    SNCF workers across the country are holding a rolling strike, which has resulted in serious train traffic disruption. The strike began on April 3 and is expected to continue until the end of June, unless the government and the unions reach an agreement. On April 9, SNCF chief Guillaume Pepy said the action had so far incurred losses of some 20 million euros per strike day since the majority of trains were either canceled or delayed.

    At the same time, both the French government and President Emmanuel Macron spoke about their intention to proceed with the reform.

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