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Day of action and occupation : an ordinary day in Rennes University II …
Rennes/Roazhon, on 9.11.06 : Communiqué from SLB Day of action and occupation : an ordinary day in Rennes University II … Today (9th November 2006) about twenty members from the SLB University occupied a SNCF sales agency for 45 minutes in order to demand that transport be free for students and
Émilie Champliaud pour ABP le 17/11/06 14:03

Rennes/Roazhon, on 9.11.06 : Communiqué from SLB

Day of action and occupation : an ordinary day in Rennes University II …

Today (9th November 2006) about twenty members from the SLB University occupied a SNCF sales agency for 45 minutes in order to demand that transport be free for students and poor people.

After having waited for the press and the police to arrive, the representatives of SNCF Management promised that the Regional Head Office would receive the SLB representatives to discuss their requests.

However, this won't prevent us from bringing our claims to the SNCF and the Regional Council.

A General Assembly took place at noon in Rennes University II. This GA, to which more than 200 students attended, was organised by SUD and CNT in order to fight against students' pauperty.

'Free transport for students' was one of the main topics, which proved very popular among the majority of the students that attended the GA. One might as well say that the fight has just started.

Free transport !

What matters more today than the possibility to travel freely ? We often need to use a means of transport, e.g. to study, work, communicate, go shopping etc. But to do that, we have to pay!

By bus or subway on the STAR network, it costs 213 euros a year if you are a student and less than 20 years old. It costs 234 euros a year if you are older than 27, 228 euros if you are an elderly and 222 euros if you are handicapped with less than 20% of your capacity left.

These prices are for those that have already payed an subscription card, of course.

What does it mean ? It means that you are right to expect free transport ... if you are a civil or military disabled, if you are less than six years old or from a poor family (but only according to Kéolis criteria). In short, free transport is not customary.

You plan to travel by train with the SNCF? No problem! You can get offers with the subscription card 12-25 if you are between 12 and 25 years old, but this means that you will have to pay 49 euros a year for the card only and will get such advantages as 50 % or 25% off depending on the time.

Did you know that on average a student earns 500 euros a month? With 500 euros, we need to pay for our rent (rents are increasing contrary to salaries!), our food, our books and transport.

Transport is costly, because many of us come from towns or villages that are located at several kilometers far from Rennes. Indeed, there is no university in middleet#8722;size towns.

We asked the SNCF to give us the prices for different fares on different routes.

For four returns from Rennes to Guingamp (i.e. 130 kms) you need to pay 101 euros if you have a student subscription card. This entitles to as many trips on TER (Regional Train) as you want for free or 9 trips on TGV with a 1.50 euro booking.

It will cost you 45 euros a year with 50% or 25% off depending on the time if you have the 12et#8722;25 subscription card. This means that you will have to pay 77.50 euros for 4 returns a month.

If you are older than 26, you can get the Frequency subscription card that costs 99.40 euros every three month and entitles to 4 return tickets with 50% off. This means that you will have to pay 107.60 euros a month!

The Escapade subscription card costs 99 euros a year and entitles to 25% off any trip. It will therefore cost you about 116 euros a month!

Why do we ask for free transport? Well, because everybody does not have the chance to own a means of transport, as the isolation of elderly people proves.

We also do believe that it will turn transport into an actual public service, create new jobs (due to an increase in traffic), reduce car traffic in city centres and protect the environment. Finally, we ask for free transport, because we already pay a lot through taxes.

Money from the Regional Council is used to subsidize TERs, which the SNCF Head Office in Paris wants to close down, because they are not profitable enough even though in reality it makes a profit on it. Besides, this situation is criticised by the Train drivers Union.

Is the argument that favours free transport utopian ? Not really. On the other hand, the argument advocating that free transport is an economic suicide is wrong. Indeed, such towns as Vitré (35) or Seattle in the US already offer such a service.

Moreover, the SNCF together with some Regional Councils can offer very cheap tickets when it comes to simple trips (5 euros for a train ticket, 2.5 euros for a bus ticket Rennes/St Malo), especially during festivals.

We should not have to pay to come and work and/or study! What should we do then? The fight against the CPE once again showed us that we cannot go forward without fighting. Meetings, protests, occupations etc. seem to be the methods that we need to use so as to get what we want.

We consider using these methods concerning our fight for free transport. From the beginning, we will put pressure on the SNCF and the Regional Council of Brittany, because they are able to make decisions in favour (or at the expense of) free transport.

This claim may unite most of the students, train drivers, unemployed and other train users. Such an interprofessional movement will enable us to win and improve our living conditions straight away !

To contact the SLB SkoL-Veur: contact Morgane Cotten: slbskolveur [at] no-log.org To read more about the SLB SkoL-Veur [See website]

The SLB (Union for the workers in Brittany, in Breton ; Sindikad Labourerien Breizh) has since 2001 gathered hundreds of members in Brittany (including Loire Atlantique).

We unionize mainly among Breton teachers (Diwan schools) where we receive about 60% of the votes from employees. We also have a growing number of members from other sectors. We offer employees in Brittany (without any discrimation regarding nationality) a union option to organise one's life, work, decision and fight in Brittany.

We think that such an option is necessary, because numerous employees do not find what they look for in other unions. We also think that it is necessary to break with a parisian over-centralised union tradition that rarely protests.

We work with our colleagues from LAB Basque, Teaching Occitan Union, STC Corsica, the Guadelupian General Union of Workers and the Kanak and Exploited Workers Union for the abolition of the law on union representativity, which excludes new unions such as ours. Like them, we refuse liberalism as much as French centralism.

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