France’s public sector strike: How it will affect you
For the first time in ten years on Tuesday, nine unions representing France’s public service workers are jointly calling on employees to strike against the government's raft of "negative" employment reforms.
Published: 10 October 2017 08:40 CEST
Tuesday’s strike will see thousands of public sector workers down tools across France, with around 130 demonstrations and gatherings planned across 90 of the country’s 96 departments.
In total, 5.4 million workers have been called on to join in the strike.
And while the catalyst for the protests differs between unions, the main factor is the government’s plan to remove tens of thousands of public service jobs, plus the recently imposed pay freeze, threats against paid sick leave and the recently introduced raft of labour reforms.
These are the sectors that will be affected:
All of France’s teachers, including those working at private schools, have been called on to strike and general secretary of Snuipp-FSU, France's main union for primary school workers, Francette Popineau, said he expects the action to be “very popular”.
The three most important issues in pushing teachers to strike, according to Popineau, is the attack on their spending power – with particular reference to the pay freeze and rise in social security payments, plus the government's controversial decision to dock pay for the first day of sick leave (jour de carence) to fight against absenteeism.
In Paris, Snuipp-FSU 75 predicts that 55 percent of teachers will strike and that 70 schools will close and will depend on how many teachers are on strike.
Luckily for those planning on travelling by train on Tuesday, TGV, Transilien, TER, Eurostar and Thalys services will be operating as normal, bosses at France’s state-owned rail company SNCF said on Sunday night.
Only the CFDT-Cheminots and SUD-rail unions called on workers to strike on Tuesday, with CFDT-Cheminots against the government’s changes to the labour code and the rise in social security contributions.
And while all three unions representing workers of Paris's state-owned public transport operator RATP – the hard line CGT, Unsa and SUD – called on employees to strike, the only disruptions predicted at the moment are to buses that will change routes to avoid the march between Republique and Nation.
The airports affected are likely to include Paris' two main airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, as well as Beauvais, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes.
“Disruptions are expected throughout the country” on Tuesday, the ministry said in a statement.
For the first time since 2009, hospital unions joined in the call for strikes.
Doctors, pharmacists and dentists are invited to strike along with nursing staff against working conditions and budgetary cuts, as well as the pay freeze and the re-introduction of unpaid leave in case of sickness.
This could see services delayed throughout Tuesday.
Police, tribunals, unemployment offices…
These are just some of the other sectors that will be affected by Tuesday's strikes, with the departments of the CFDT and Unsa unions dealing with police calling on members to join the street protests.
Companies that used to form part of France's public sector, including the postal service and mobile companies like Orange have also been called on to strike, along with people working in the country's unemployment centres, employees at tribunals, library and gym staff.
Students blockade Paris schools in election protest
Students blockaded five schools in Paris on Tuesday to demonstrate their political concerns ahead of the second round of the Presidential elections on Sunday.
Published: 20 April 2022 09:11 CEST
In addition to the five blockaded lycées, the université Paris 8 in Saint-Denis was closed “for security reasons”.
The students – who are too young to make their voices heard at the ballot box – were protesting against the options available to voters in the second round – where incumbent Emmanuel Macron takes on far-right leader Marine Le Pen – and follows earlier student protests at the Sorbonne.
Many were demonstrating in protest at what they saw as inadequate policies on climate change and social issues from both candidates in the final round of voting, as well as the lack of choice for the electorate.
“It is a continuation of what happened at the Sorbonne,” one student told AFP. “We want a third social round, because the two candidates qualified for the second round have no social or ecological programmes.
“We want to give a new breath to this Fifth Republic a little at the end of the race.
“We are fed up with the fascist state. We are here against Marine Le Pen, against fascism, for the climate and against capitalism,” another student at the lycée Louis-le-Grand in the capital’s fifth arrondissement said.
“We have blocked all the entrances. We will stay there as long as possible.”
About 100 students blockaded the prestigious school. Some students chant slogans against the “Front National” – the former name of second-round candidate Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National party.
The blockades ended peacefully at the end of the day.
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