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French Railway Disrupted by Walkout Over Network Merger

June 11 (Bloomberg) -- France’s railway services are being disrupted today by workers striking to protest a plan to merge the country’s rail operator and network manager.

About 28 percent of railway workers are taking part in today’s strike, national rail operator SNCF said in an e-mailed statement. About 70 percent of regular train services have been canceled, along with at least 50% of high-speed trains, SNCF said on its website.

“We recommend that all those who are able to do so postpone their travel plans,” the SNCF official said in a video posted on its YouTube account at 11:00 a.m. Paris time.

The striking workers want to stop a draft law that would merge SNCF and railway network manager RFF in a structure unions say is too complex and could lead to the loss of employee benefits. The draft law, supported by the Socialist-led government, aims to prepare France for the opening of its rail services to rival European operators.

The CGT labor union said its members have voted to continue the strike Thursday, Agence France-Presse reported, citing union spokesman Thierry Nier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mathieu Rosemain in Paris at mrosemain@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net Steve Rhinds

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