Month-long strike over for French public radio

French public radio group Radio France was back to regular programming on Thursday after unions ended the longest strike the broadcaster has ever seen to allow a mediator to work.

Month-long strike over for French public radio
The headquarters of Radio-France, French public service radio broadcaster. Photo: AFP
The 28-day stoppage at Radio France was called off late Wednesday. Unions had maintained the strike to protest management plans to cut 300 jobs and shift some radio shows to the web.
"I welcome the end of the conflict," Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin told AFP.
She said the mediator she had appointed last week would now start a second phase of work of analysing the points of view of the group's 4,400-strong workforce and the management.
The strike had pitted Radio France unions against its young chief executive, Mathieu Gallet, who was named to the post a year ago.
The outside mediation and Pellerin's direct involvement marked a defeat for Gallet, a telegenic 38-year-old who used to be an aide in the previous rightwing government of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
But the unions have so far also failed to roll back his cost-cutting plan.
The union alliance at Radio France "will regroup and tend to its wounds," the representative of the hardline CGT union, Jean Matthieu Zahnd, said. The CGT had found itself largely abandoned by the other unions after the mediator had stepped in.
Gallet had vowed to lawmakers that he would push on with his plan to axe jobs to fill a 21-million-euro shortfall in Radio France's budget.
The group receives 664 million euros a year, 90 percent of it from a tax imposed on French households with a television.
However the flamboyant chief executive did himself no favours in the labour conflict by reportedly renovating his office with a view of the Eiffel Tower to the tune of 100,000 euros ($110,000) and hiring a PR consultant on a 90,000-euro salary as he was preparing his cost-cutting plan.

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French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.