Friday, November 02, 2007

November: Month for strike in France

The October 18 strike for the SNCF (national railway worker) didn't bear any constructive result; 4 days strike cost Air France 60 million in the revenues (reimbursement for the air ticket and etc), pissing off a lot of French who were going on vacation...imaging some had to take bus from Paris to Frankfurt to be able to go to Bangkok...

And, all these are not enough to wake up the workers, mainly the civil servant...they are declaring that November will be the month of strike.

Comic: The cows spend most of their time watching the train passing by. Since the railway strike, they no longer see the train. These cows are complaining and demand to be reimbursed of losing their sole entertainment. :-)

November 13: Start the unlimited transport strike for state-owned rail operator SNCF
November 14: The energy firms EDF and GDF backed calls for a one-day strike
November 20: Civil servants work stoppage

Guy in red: My wife run away with a cop, my car got burned, I can't go to work with train anymore, so what do I do now?
SNCF worker: You can be in sick leave, or try to get yourself fired. You will get help from the unemployment funding.

The unions are trying to defense their "special" pensions schemes of half a million public employees, one of them to allow some workers to retire as early as 50.

Currently, some 1.1 million people draw pensions under the scheme, funded by contributions from 500,000 workers. Since the contributions from workers fall far short of payments, the state have to bail out the special pensions fund to the tune of some five billion euros (6.9 billion dollars) a year.

Strikes and mass protests forced a previous government to back down on the reform of the so-called "special regimes" in 1995.

My comment:
The French wanted some revolution to their system, that's why they elected the new president. But one part of French are afraid to change too. They don't want to lose their entitlement to the early retirement (50 years old? Comment, some people have to work until 66), lots of benefits (first class free train tickets, vacation facilities for free...). Basically, the French don't want to lose their benefits they have been enjoying, even though they know that these benefits are dragging them now in terms of economy.


  1. Anonymous5:35 PM

    Obviously those strike can cripple the country economy.My first experience of French strike left me frustrated, unable go to class because no train or any bus running.My guess on those who strike to preserve their retirement package, they may not voted for the new president.The new president deniable controversy with the recent 140% increment on his salary, while stated those pension scheme exhaust the state fund. Excerpt from BBC "Such a system now costs the government around 6bn euros (£4.18bn; $8bn) a year and Mr Sarkozy insists the state coffers simply do not have enough money any more for these generous handouts."

  2. I saw Sarkozy interview in 60 minutes,at first I thought he is so arragont and rude when CBS show the preview but after I check the facts in CBS and watch again the interview I understand why he act like that.My hubby hate France ppls since the incident of Iraq war but after I told him about Sarkozy,he seem to change his mind.He piss off bcoz the previous President refuse to shake hand with American.I think Sarkozy is good for France overall especially in economy.

  3. Anonymous12:44 AM

    My first and only visit to France, there was a strike too. No trains running either at that time.

    Entitlements have become so deeply entrenched in the French society that it is hard to change. Everyone wants their benefits but not the number of hours of work to show for it!

  4. natasha,
    Ah, the last CPE strike also gave me trouble in terms of transport, but they had minimum bus services so it was still ok.

    Glad that the new president kind of changing the American sentiment toward France. Actually these were conflict between the politicians, the French are generally quite nice. :-)

    I can't agree more with your statement. How lucky were you, managed to witness the French famous strike! :-)