Wednesday, November 14, 2007

France Feeling the Pinch

I warned you all about November as being a month that will test President Sarkozy's mettle. Here is a rendition of where the situation is at today.

france_strike
[Thanks to libcom.org for this 1995 photo.]

Remember, when they say "extend the retirement age", they are talking about extending them from 37.5 years of service to 40. Now, if you're 20, and you work for 37.5 years, you'll be 57.5 at retirement. Does that seem fair to you? Does it seem fair for some to get this privilege, and others to have to work 40? I don't get the strikers' thinking here.

Watch carefully how this plays out. I will bet (very unscientifically) that this comes in with a roar and goes out with a whimper.

Sarkozy has played his cards well. He has changed some pivotal strike laws that will oblige strikers to pay their own way (previously, they received benefits while striking--sic!). They also must vote by secret ballot (I assume that previously this was not the case). This is essential. Lastly, they must vote every few days.

These are really important changes to strike laws. I think they will force the negotiators to the table, after this laudable effort to show that they mean business, as only the French can do. The majority of the French are behind Sarkozy on this one. After all, they are sick and tired of being the real victims of all of this hoopla.

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