Sunday, September 5, 2010
On Tuesday the major French unions CGT, CFDT, FO, CFTC, Solidaires, FSU, UNSA, but not CFE-CGC, will be requesting that their members exercise their right to strike in protest against the Retirement age reform that has been proposed by the French government.
Tuesday the 7th of September marks the date that the reform which has been under discussion for several months, will be presented to French deputies at the Assemblé National.
The reform which proposes to change the current retirement age from 60 to 62 and 67 (the latter in order to have full benefits), has provoked quite a bit of controversy. This reform seems to be penalizing those who started working at a very young age as well as those who had trouble sustaining continuous work over the lifetime of their careers. Also stated was that it only further deepens the inequality between men and women by no longer taken into account the number of years a mother may spend raising her children instead of focusing on her career.
What can you expect on Tuesday:
Public services will be either completely shut down or on limited service. Post office will be closed, schools closed, public museums (The Eiffel Tower is a public entity but privately run - therefore not closed).
Metro and bus services will be "très perturbé" - service will run but expect lots of delays and crowding. I have heard that those who do manage to use them will not have to pay - in any case the guys who give you the tickets for not having a valid metro pass won't be around. The government had put in place what they called a "service minimum" a few years back, which required the RATP (bus and metro service), to provide the city of Paris with a minimum service on days of strikes.
Avoid Republique, Bastille and Nation starting at 2 PM! Don't say I didn't warn you.
The major assembly of unionist will be gathering at Place de la Republique at 2 PM on Tuesday and will head via the Bastille towards Nation. So unless you want to experience the strike ambiance LIVE, avoid these areas; the procession will take several hours to move along.
Last piece of advise - take it all in stride. This is the French way. The right to strike is a fundamental part of French culture and has sometimes been cause of great unrest (May '68) or has incited the government to renounce their reform program (strike against the student reform in '95). So you see French strikes do serve a purpose beyond messing up your holiday.
Photo source: AP/CLAUDE PARIS
Posted by Yetunde at 14:09
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