Monday, 11 October 2010

Allez les bleus!

I am hors de combat, on account of having the flu. But I have enough strength to think about the French strikes tomorrow. They are having a day of strikes, nationally, and after that "greves reconductibles" in many sectors.

That means that each day the workers turn up (yes, they have to go to their workplace to do it: very particpatory) and take a vote on whether their strike continues that day.

I was "speaking" via the magic of Facebook last night to someone I know who is a white collar worker in Paris. He says that while the protests are about the pension "reform" (raising the retirement age from 60 to 62, and the age for full pension entitlement from 65 to 67) and people are angry enough about that, they also know that if they lose this fight, they will face many attacks after that: on benefits, on trade union rights, etc.

This battle is something like the French equivalent of our miners' strike, when the Tories took on and defeated the strongest group of workers, the difference being that in France the government is taking on almost the whole society at once. I have a trip to Paris booked at the end of November, by which time I think it will be clear who has won.

Allez mes braves!


Anonymous said...

While I can well support many workers' struggles, how can we really expect to retire at 60 for the following 300 years, paid for by younger workers? There are only so many millionaires to squeeze the pips of.

French workers had better get used to pensions starting at 67, say, unless we cull all people over 80.

Anonymous said...

That was 30 years, not 300!