One of my Trade-Union buddies sent me this - it's from (today's?) Guardian
. Not seen the paper or the TV news for a few days as I've been holed up working
lol. Looks like France is having its own Thatcher Moment...good to see that Sarkozy's attempts at social engineering don't appear to be going down too well in La France. Whereas The Iron Lady destroyed Trade Unionism in the UK (amongst other things) thru sheer force of will (plus a little help from Murdoch and the tabloid press, borrowed US intelligence operatives and a hefty police overtime bill paid for by us taxpayers...), I'm not convinced that Old Nick has got the, erm, presence
to carry this off himself (too busy cozzying up to that uber-groupie wife of his - has she, like, shagged everyone who's famous in the whole world
?)...still, great to see the French pushing back...I wish them the best of luck in the resisting the Manifest Tide of Self-serving Interests that have turned this great country of ours into a nation of latte-drinking, opinionless nobodies. "Apes! Cornflakes! Solidarity!" I say (to quote a strangely prescient post on Discharge a few days ago).
'Course I blame all this hoo-hah on the smoking ban in Paris...if they'd destroyed the unions before
they brought in the ban, well...
"The French government is working to contain a wave of factory strikes by private-sector workers not normally known for taking to the barricades, including ice-cream makers, supermarket staff, hairdressers and L'Oréal employees.
Factory staff have taken increasingly hardline measures, with some holding their managers hostage for days over plant closures and job cuts. This week the tyre giant Michelin continued talks over the closure of a plant in Toul, eastern France, after a government-appointed mediator secured the release of two managers whom workers had locked in a room for three days. It follows an incident last month when workers outraged at planned job cuts at the Miko ice-cream factory in Saint-Dizier locked up their British manager, Prakash Patel.
This week, staff at a Ford plant near Bordeaux blockaded their factory and L'Oréal cosmetics staff took to the streets under the banner "because we're worth it", asking for pay rises after their company's good financial results. Unions from plants making products including skis, glass and steel also raised the spectre of job cuts and closures. One logistics firm in the Landes caused controversy yesterday by offering staff €1,000 (£756) if they promised not to strike. Around half accepted, but unions denounced the sweeteners as anti-democratic.
The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who plunged to a new low in the polls yesterday, will today travel to Pas de Calais to address workers from France's north-eastern rust belt over the decline of the industrial heartlands.
He is trying to limit the damage of images of burning braziers and barricades in the run-up to next month's local elections. The employment minister, Xavier Bertrand, promised that he understood workers' fears, saying "a France without industry" was not the way to build a future for French children.
Since 2001, more jobs have been lost than created in French industry, with more than 500,000 posts scrapped. But although other parts of the private sector have seen a rise in job growth, workers remain disgruntled.
Targeted industrial action has spiralled as workers including hairdressers, taxi drivers and printers have downed tools over working practices, low salaries and a lack of the "spending power", which Sarkozy promised to boost. The percentage of a low-paid worker's income taken up by necessities such as food and bills increased from 50% to 75% between 2001 and 2006.
Researchers noted that private-sector workers in areas that did not traditionally see strike action were now joining in. Photographers have even threatened to stop taking passport photos and to blockade automatic photo machines in protest at government plans to issue free photographs for biometric passports.
Olivier Besancenot, spokesman for France's Communist Revolutionary League, said renewed industrial action was rebounding on the president "in a nasty boomerang..."