July 23, 2014 / 6:25 AM / 3 years ago

French parliament adopts disputed rail reform

PARIS, July 23 (Reuters) - The French parliament has formally adopted a railway reform intended to prepare the sector for liberalisation and which triggered a 10-day strike last month.

The bill was approved during an overnight session with votes from the ruling Socialists, Greens and moderate left-wing allies. The hard left and some opposition voted against.

The move will bring state-owned railway company SNCF and track owner RFF into the same holding company and is to prepare the system ahead of European Union moves to introduce more competition into Europe’s transport routes.

Railworkers fear the reform will lead to job losses and an erosion of their current privileges.

The final text includes an amendment aimed at capping the debt of the SNCF, currently at 44 billion euros ($59 billion), and calls for the negotiation of a new collective convention governing working conditions in the sector. ($1 = 0.7426 Euros) (Reporting by Emile Picy; Writing by Mark John; Editing by James Regan)

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