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The driver of the TGV, a privileged ?

Salary, hours, stress, etc. Thierry, 44, a TGV driver tells the story of his life as a railroader, less comfortable than you would think. within the social mov

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The driver of the TGV, a privileged ?

Salary, hours, stress, etc. Thierry, 44, a TGV driver tells the story of his life as a railroader, less comfortable than you would think.

within the social movement that agitates the agents of the SNCF, Thierry (1) describes himself as a moderate. TGV driver, he was blocked hard to get there : apprentice at 16 years of maintenance and equipment, he has passed the driving school-house in 1995, before driving of the TER, and then freight trains, and Corals/City... Born in 1975, it will not be a priori not affected by the reform, but wished to put the points on the i. "If the driver of the TGV is sometimes identified as belonging to an aristocracy cheminote, it undergoes a high mental workload, that is also part of the difficulty", he explains.

3h41 driving average, it is false

"On the SNCF, the Court of Accounts leading to an average driving time of 3h41 by day, but it is a shortcut of a caricature ! Between colleagues, we calculated our working time to the day for 2019, I'm at 6: 59am on average, and not in the conduct. The courses are long. Each driver of TGV swallows often more than 1000 km per trip. For me, the longer displays 1275 km on a Lille Marseille, and Marseille to Lyon, with just two hours to beat. More than 6 hours of driving. Driving is the core business, but there is everything that there is around, the train is not just there waiting for us, before departure. We would then get in and go ", described the driver, based on a unit of production in Auvergne Rhône-Alpes.

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For Ouigos, in particular, it was he who, in a taxi paid for by the company, will pick up the oar at the technicentre (the deposit) for the route to the departure station, Lyon Part-Dieu or Perrache, after having performed many safety tests, and brake tests, during at least 30 minutes. "All of this takes me an hour and a half. And in return, it is to him also I will reroute the train to the Technicentre."

One-third of variable compensation

"When I smooth all, I get 4000 euros net taxable per month, over 12 months, but I've sometimes months to 3 200 euros, and the other over 4, 000. As rolling, my pay is not fixed, it incorporates a variable that accounts for a third party, calculated on the basis of hours of night work, holidays or weekends. However, the largest share belongs to the premium related to the number of kilometres travelled, the so-called "premium traction". It is not stolen, because I do 10 to 15 000 km per month." On the 13th month, it is not one of them. It is a premium the end of the year, calculated on the basic salary, less the amount of the monthly remuneration. For 2019, Thierry has collected the premium for an amount of € 2,300.

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mental Load and peak stress

"If the job is less physical than in the past, it requires high concentration, in the arrivals area of the station in particular. In the fall, I am hypervigilant to dead leaves that accumulate on the rails, and which form a gel may be slippery. This is tricky, because there is very little friction between the wheel and the steel rail. The contact between the two is equal to the area of a postage stamp, there was thus very little grip. I am sometimes surprised. It is necessary to know how to anticipate, braking earlier and braking less strong. We have two braking systems to be managed, either fully electric, engines, or pneumatic, for operating the jaws, which hinder a little stronger. One must "feel" his train".

Finally, there are the breaches of regulations to manage : when the driver of TGV passing lanes conventional, to the HSL (high speed line) signals are sometimes outside, sometimes in the cabin (LGV). And when he goes abroad, it must adapt to the rail regulation in the country. "The switching must be done very quickly in my head."

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Rhythm of life shifted, and "layovers"

The worst, what are the long waits between two trains away from home, the "layovers", either in homes SNCF type 2 stars", where the atmosphere among colleagues is warm," he says, or in partner hotels. Thierry can sometimes stay 24 hours on-site. On the first TGV Nantes-Lyon, he jumps out of bed at 3: 30 in the morning, to arrive in the station to 4h10, start at 4h55 until the arrival at 9: 45 am at Lyon. "There, my day of service is finished, I go home. I lead a life of rambling. I don't have a fixed schedule, I can attack at 4 o'clock in the morning as to 21h, and... and to finish my day of service, up to 3 o'clock in the morning."

He knows in advance three-quarters of his rest days and service per quarter, but in his days of service, there are voids, which are filled in at the last moment by replacements or training. A quarter of the schedule is complicated to anticipate. This disrupts his family life, but Thierry wouldn trade for anything in the world.

Read our complete file

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(1) The train like you have never seen it, par the co-operative "Say the work", editions of the Workshop, October 2019.

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