From now on, passengers traveling in groups of more than twenty people will find closed doors in the SNCF agencies previously dedicated to this type of specific trip. This is the last measure devised by the management of the railway company and announced, on March 14, to the staff representatives. "In total, 266 jobs agency Paris, Lille, Nantes, Bordeaux, Marseille and Lyon are directly threatened from September 2019," warns the CGT. By doing so, the SNCF is canceling six out of seven group agencies and cutting 82% of their employees. Only the point of sale in Strasbourg would probably fall through the cracks.
In Lyon, the agency Perrache groups is in the list of convicts. In all, 45 employees are sidelined, "colleagues who have just heard the news and fall a bit of the cabinet," says Laurent Aubeleau, regional manager of CGT cheminots in Lyon. "These agencies allowed groups to organize their trip, from start to finish, by managing, in addition to train tickets, bus transportation from schools, for example, or entrance tickets to museums." continues the unionist. And in Lyon as elsewhere, "reorganizations are superimposed", and these new job cuts are added to those that have dried up commercial sales for years.
A "dictatorship of the digital"
"Here, all the shops in town have disappeared in two years and the closures of wickets are increasing with, for those who remain open, increasingly tight schedules," says Laurent Aubeleau, which states that "in a year to hardly more than a hundred jobs were cut in the sector, for the sales activity alone ". Except for the Strasbourg agency, which will continue to take charge of TGV travel for groups of more than 30 people, users will be sent back on the Internet. A "dictatorship of the digital" which, however, has not proved its effectiveness. "After more than three years of use, the application Clic and go represents only 13% of the turnover of the activity," says the CGT.
However, with this measure, management intends to pursue its objective of a "reduction of 36% to 15% in distribution costs and prepare the opening to competition in the regions," analysis the CGT. For, in addition to no longer managing "physically" group bookings, the SNCF decided to simply go out the TER routes of the group sales offer, by sending them back to the regions, "whose agreements, signed with the 'State, do not provide funding for this activity,' recalls Laurent Aubeleau.
A reduction in distribution costs that fits perfectly in the logic of openness to competition, believes the unionist, who sees the removal of these outlets "a way for the SNCF to be more competitive in a market now open to private operators ".
In ambush, the major tour operators, they, wait before taking the bet. Already, the SNCF has just entrusted them with the marketing of "package" trips, that is to say including, in addition to train tickets, other holiday services (bus, cultural and leisure ticketing …). All, "in defiance of the expertise of railway workers," denounces the CGT. And from there to the fact that the travel agencies end up selling all the train tickets, some are afraid that there is only one step …