Monday, November 19, 2007

The non strikers strike back!

Sorry to start the week with a demonstration photo but this one is unusual: it's a counter strike demonstration! It took place today (Sunday) between Place de La République and Nation with the intention of showing some "disagreement" with the transportation strikers. Interesting but totally useless; this week, not only will the transportation strikers go on but they will also be joined by civil servants, students, teachers, air controllers... you name it! Ahhh Good old France!


  1. It has captured the attention of the global press, and I've been reading a great deal about it. Good photo to show the demonstration.

  2. I like how you captured that raised open hand there

  3. As an American that lives a few months a year in Paris, I totaly appreciate the social freedom in France and the right to srike for benefits as groups. On the other hand assuming majority of French voted for Sarkozy and his policies, it might not be useless to see more demonstrations against some strikes that are in the wrong direction to the detriment of French economy that is in need for change

  4. Sure, they did vote him in. Let's not forget that.

    The raised arm in clear focus certainly says it all.
    It's probably owned by a self-employed person who may, one day, retire at 65 or 70 years of age; not 50.

    Wonderful capture !

  5. I agree with anonymous. It's important to have rights but some take demanding too far.

    Nice shot.

  6. It's all about me...when are the air controllers striking? My choice is to land and get stuck there,not to go to work and find out the flight is cancelled. HELP!
    BTW, since when do the French use the word STOP. I know the regular English suspects that have infiltrated their language,but this is a new one on me. Unite, citizens of France, take to the streets,STOP ENGLISH LANGUAGE INFILTRATION. KFC, Starbucks,and Macdoo too.

  7. My, my. The strike goes on and is being supported by other unions. That is interesting. I surely feel bad for everyone who is affected. That the strike is having such an affect on people is an indication of its effectiveness: that is the purpose of a strike. I recall it was not a unanimous election, but I don't remember the actual numbers. Apparently, the non-Sarkos are making themselves heard. I am fascinated. Perhaps the transportation workers are more important than everyone thought...? Be careful on that scooter in the cold rain, mon ami! I fear people might get angry, though the drivers in Paris seem pretty intense already.

  8. What a great capture (the raising hand) and a perfect title! Love it!
    That's a demonstration I'd support easily. As the daughter of self-employed/entrepreneur parents, I could not agree more with m.benaut. It's time to think a little bit differently: if 30 is the new 20, 50 is the new 40! We are living longer and better.
    Hey Eric, the writers are on strike here and Broadway too. No kidding.

  9. Air controllers? Noooooooooooo!!!! Grrrrrr...

  10. France as a strike champion country is a myth according to LIberation. (A newspaper). In a list of 18 industrialised countries, France is the 11th most striking nation. Not even in the average.
    I hope the governement will go back asap and to be able to use transportation again.

  11. Eric, do you know how many people there were at the anti-strike demonstration? They said between 8000 and 15000 people on the radio.

  12. Right Elsa, various economists & journalists explained that, even again this morning on France Culture. A little precision though : if there are altogether fewer strikes in France than in many other industrialised countries, they concern mainly the transportation field leading to much more anooyance to other people.
    Another interesting point, I find, is that it is legally forbidden in France to do "gratuity strike" (sorry,I'm not sure of that in English), like in some other countries for exampl. There, when in strike, public transports continue to work but you don't pay for it ! So may be it would be a constructive "rupture" for France to change the law, an opportunity to create favorable conditions for adult social relations ?

  13. Eric baisse la main, c est bon, on t'a reconnu dans le cortege !

  14. Today, the president of the SNCF stated that the strike has cost her organization, 100 million Euros.

    This can simply be added to the national debt ?

    Something's got to give but when ?

  15. Here's something of interest from The Guardian: "They are striking over the government's plan to do away with privileges that allow public sector workers the right to retire two and a half years earlier than the normal pension age."

    Only 2 1/2 years early? This sounds much less severe than I thought. Is normal retirement 57 1/2 years?

  16. Michael Moore had an interesting observation in his latest movie "Sicko" (as I remember; it's been a few months since I've seen it.) He said that in the United States average citizens are afraid of government and big business: losing their jobs, losing health care benefits, government spying, etc. In France the government and corporations are afraid of its citizens. Maybe this strike (and the others preceding it) is an indication of this lack of fear by the workers. But maybe now the government is becoming less fearful. We'll have to see how this plays out.

  17. The Strike is really getting to many people I am sure, but over the weekend on TV5 I watched what we call a "Round Table Discussion" about the strike and one person made an interesting point. He said that with people in countries like China, India, Brazil and the US and Japan willing to work 50 hours or more a week; France has to change the way it operates or else it will be forgotten. I don't have a solution of course, but the global situation is bearing down hard on France[and all of us really]and things are just not going to be able to remain the way they were in say 1958. The rich are getting richer at the expense of the worker, that is for sure.

    Found this for a bit of comic relief...112 Gripes About the French have a laugh and I hope the number 8 gets there soon!!! Merde!!! Ras le bol???!!

  18. what a 'fun' time to visit Paris! Kidding aside, I do sympathize with the public for the trouble these strikes are causing.

  19. I’m a little late here today. Trying to clear my desk so I can take off for Thanksgiving. I LOVE that raised hand in the midst of the crowd. Reminded me of the quote, “...If my heart is as your heart, take my hand…” I hope there will be a quick resolution for everyone’s sake, but especially for those who struggle to get to work so they can contribute towards their own retirement, which BTW, will not be happening at 50 or 55! Stagnating traffic and keeping people from getting to their jobs so they can put food on the table is not a move that wins the popularity vote. This photo (ahem) demonstrates that.

  20. I came back from Paris yesterday, and could "enjoy" some striking effects as a result of tubes not working....Anyway, it was week-end time, and people did not look to be too affected by it, very different from a working day obviously. First message I had on my computer back home was from the French school in the Hague to let me know that..... because of a national strike in France, my son's teacher will not be attending her class tomorrow and whether I could keep him at home!!!!! Very nice, when parents are paying a fortune to send their kids to a state-owned school (but not fully subsidised). Even abroad, we can be affected!! Just need to laugh....

  21. Anonymous, M. Benaut... you're right, that is what democracy is all about. The majority decides for everybody and some find it hard to accept it.

    Phx-cdg, don't worry ;) I don't think many flights will be canceled. Stop! Well, it's a French word, isn't? Only in French Canada would they say "arrêtez la grêve"!

    Jeff. The thing is that public service workers (public transportation, electricity, etc.) have more power than anyone because they can block the entire country and make themselves heard. Whereas workers in private companies can go on strike as much as they want, nobody cares...

    I know Eliane, it made it to the national news here in France!

    Don't worry Tomate, so far so good.

    True Elsa, despite what we usually think, the French don't go on strike more than others - actually less (see this previous post).

    Marie, there were about 8 000 people according to the police (and probably 1 million according to the organizers LOL!)

    You're right GG...

    Fredj LOL!

    Jeff, the retirement age is 60 providing you've worked at least 40 years - that is if you studied until the age of 23, well, you cannot retire before the age of 63. I started working @ 27 so... I'm not too happy about these changes LOL. Not to mention that because our population is getting older and older, we are going to work even longer in a near future...

    As a comparison, my father retired at... 56 and is about to turn 80!

    Well Gary, there has to be a balance I think. We've known for 20 years now that we were going to have problems with our pensions (simply because we live longer and we have more retirees than people at work) but because - like you say - all governments are afraid of the street, we waited until the last minute (now!) to change the situation. And of course, it's much harder because it's not progressive.

    Tonton, Excellent your gripes about the French LOL! It's true that we have to compete with the rest of the world and the rest of the world does not care about our situation, they just want to enjoy our standard of living Asap, even if they have to work 50 hours a week.
    Can we blame them? Not really.

    True Loraine.

    Yeah Lezard. Even abroad... ;)

  22. To me, it's still good to see some protest, aimed at the strikers.

    Good luck with life, in your lovely city.

    And btw, please don't apologize for photos of what's really going on! Not to me. I truly enjoy finding Paris blog views of what's happening. Much prefer it to "the news views," which I avoid.