Tuesday, March 21, 2006

General Strike in France?

Yesterday was the beginning of Spring...
But Paris in the Spring may be a bit hot this year as yesterday was also the day when French students and unions called for a general strike on March 28 to fight the new labor law that makes it easier for companies to fire young employees. (see our post here).
It remains to be seen if enough workers will join the movement for a general stirke. It is one thing to get 1 million or so people demonstrate on a sunny Saturday, or to get students "go on stirke", it is another to get people risk their paycheck on that issue. They may go on strike for one day, but probably not for more (the 2003 teachers strike cost the strikers a lot and they ended up losing anyway). I am not sure the average worker will be motivated for that issue.
That is going to be an interesting test for both the unions and the government - both are in a weak position and need to gain muscle... but both may end up losing a lot.

One more thing - what is funny (and traditional) about French demonstrations is that by the end of the day you always get two sorts of assessments - the number of demonstrations given by the organizers (1.5 million people in this case) and that given by the police (800.000 demonstrations). For some reason, I tend to trust neither.

Why can't the media hire some people to do the job? I am not sure I hear the same thing going on anywhere else...


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