There have already been some strikes here in France in 2010 – and we’re only halfway through January! There has been a traindriver’s strike, a pilot’s strike and an air traffic controller’s strike, and next week there will be general strike in the French principality of Guadeloupe on the 20th , and then one here on the 21st, not forgetting the nurses who strike on the 26th.
Do the French strike more than other countries? It certainly seems so. However, a quick poke around on the net reveals that its the Canadians who down tools most often. Between 1995 and 2006, the number of work days lost through strikes per thousand employees was 203.4 in Canada, 134.8 in Spain, 91.4 in France and 74.3 in Norway. The country that had the fewest strikes was Switzerland, with 2.8 days lost. (These figs from www.metiseurope.eu.)
The rivalry between unions is one reason for frequent strikes in France, apparently. Each union must be seen to be at least trying to outdo the others!
I’m not generally in favour of strikes as they inconvenience the wrong people the most. I mean, is Sarko going to care particularly that my two teens will be having to come home on Wednesday afternoon now instead of being able to stay at school. Their ‘internat’ (boarding facilities) will be closed on Wednesday night because of the strike. Does it bother him that they’ll be using two extra bus tickets each this week, that I’ll have to get up at 6am on Thursday as well as Monday to get them on their bus, and that I’ll be making two extra journeys of 22km each to get them from and to the bus-stop. And Benj and Caits won’t be getting two meals each that we’ve paid for as part of their fees. They’ll be eating here instead – two teas and two breakfasts. It’s not a colossal sum of money involved, but it’s a good few euro, and it all adds up. And do I have any influence on whatever it is the strikers are striking for? Unlikely.
However, workers have the right to strike so I must respect that. But it would be nice if it didn’t mean I had to get up early two mornings and have more washing up to do …!