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SNCF: Sans Nous les Cafés Ferment

By Marie Decreme

Thousands of commuters have been affected by a strike action at the SNCF on 24 September: only one train out of two was operating normally on the commuter network (J and L routes). Simply because according to the unions some rum was used in the crepe batter. It sounds like a joke…

February 2013, in a SNCF signal tower at the Saint-Lazare train station in Paris, a few employees improvised a crepe party during their work hours, with rum in the batter. However, because there was some rum left, one of them came up with the great idea of making rum-lemon-pepper cocktails: the workers were having a drink at work. This lovely little party could have gone unnoticed, if it had not been for someone making a video of the evening and who then gave it to Le Point to post on the Internet.

Screenshot of the video filmed by one of the employees

For one minute and fifty seconds, we can see railway workers drinking punch, while glancing at their screens; “I told the station that we have stopped our service!”, one of them joked. Another admitted he had forgotten to “flash” a train coming in towards an already taken platform: “thankfully, the guy saw the yellow line (…), if not, he would have had to force his way in”. The video was not well received after the accident at Brétigny-sur-Orge, in June 2013.

To date, after an internal investigation conducted carried out by the SNCF, eight railway workers have been sanctioned: two employees who admitted drinking were suspended for two days whilst the other four who had denied any use of alcohol were suspended for one day for not alerting their management. And this is why the SUD-Rail, CGT and UNSA syndicates went on strike; to defend their colleagues. Absolutely incredible!


Feel like making some crepes for your friends? Here is our recipe: 300g flour, 2 eggs, 1L milk, 1 glass of water, 3 tablespoons sugar, rum, 1 tablespoon sunflower oil. Bon appétit!


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