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France may force rail strikers back to work: transport minister

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France may order striking rail employees back to work, transport minister Alain Vidalies said Friday, hours before the Euro 2016 football championship was due to kick off.

[PARIS] France may order striking rail employees back to work, transport minister Alain Vidalies said Friday, hours before the Euro 2016 football championship was due to kick off.

Mr Vidalies told Europe 1 radio that the government would use "every tool available" to get fans to the match and "if we have to issue orders tomorrow (for trains to be driven), we will do so."

He also ruled out any new negotiations with workers who have been striking for 10 days and warned the authorities would show "no tolerance of actions that threaten the big celebration."

"The strike has no meaning anymore," he added.

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Europe's paramount soccer tournament begins on Friday at 1900 GMT when France host Romania at the Stade de France, the national stadium on the northern outskirts of Paris.

Mr Vidalies said that the state-run railway, the SNCF, was laying on special trains from central Paris to get fans to the stadium in spite of the strike.

"We will ensure transport," he said.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo meanwhile announced that rubbish which has been piling up in the capital over the past few days would be cleared.

Pictures of overflowing rubbish bins have dominated front pages since unions began blockading incineration plants a few days ago and rubbish truck drivers walked off the job.

"All the rubbish will be collected," Ms Hidalgo told BFMTV channel, adding that dozens of extra garbage trucks had been deployed as part of the cleanup.

AFP

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