Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Miscellaneous Strike News

Libé pulls together some interesting pieces of strike news:

Participation is down at both the SNCF (22.8 %) and RATP (16.4 %).

Sarkozy has called for severe punishment of those responsible for burning of TGV switches.

Manuel Valls harshly criticized his own party, the Socialists, for failing to state clearly that they favored the alignment of the special regimes with the general civil service regime.

Talks have begun.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Art's measured assessment of the general situation regarding the evolution of the strikes and blocages. I'd stress that the economic costs are very high, and the result of a small minority of strikers who don't understand and don't really care about the economics. They, and some of the extreme left leaders (Buffet, Besancenot, the Greens), still talk in the old and opaque cliches: e.g. 'le capital' doit payer plus, il faut mieux partager "la richesse de la France." The evolution of B. Thibault and the CGT leadership is quite important in this regard.
Le Monde of Sat/Sunday has interviews with the various PS leaders, who all say quite clearly (now, too late and lacking in courage) that, like the CFDT, they think the move to equalize pension contributions is necessary. Manuel Valls' criticism of his own party in this regard is teling. Had Segolene Royal by chance won the election, what a mess the French government would be: The PS had absolutely no idea of who would be in the government and what the policies would be. Segolene's vague proposal during the campaign to throw the tough problems into what ought to be described as 'AG's of the entire society,' and her own isolation, was proof of that.

On the mis en examen of Chirac: I agree with Art that a trial would be a sad waste of time. Sarkozy could pardon the former president somewhere along the way before such a trial revealed the 'mediocrite' of the whole affaire. (Let the 1980s trial of the Mitterrand-era Socialists on the same sort of charge be sufficient on this score.) But Sarkozy surely wants to make Chirac and Villepin pay (and suffer emotionally) for their sleazy attempt at sabotaging him (Clearstream). Indictments (perhaps even setting a trial date) with subsequent presidential mercy would satisfy the rule of law, make Sarkozy look presidential, and at the same time humiliate the two of them both today and in terms of their inglorious place in history. No need to prove what everyone assumes is true: They did it.

Quico said...

Maybe I'm misreading this, but isn't the TGV switch-fires a disastrous blunder for the far left? The moment that will tip public reaction from annoyed but resigned to militantly furious?

Sarko can't believe his luck.

I really struggle to put myself in the shoes of someone who thought this was a good idea...and, as it seems, it took some non-trivial coordination, too, which makes the entire affair even more sordid and self-destructive.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Francisco--and think of the reaction had the switch-burning caused a major accident. If I were conspiratorially minded, I'd be tempted to see a right-wing plot in this.

Anonymous said...

Participation is down at both the SNCF (22.8 %) and RATP (16.4 %)

According to Le Monde (I think), and I believe it, the decline in the numbers on strike is a deliberate tactic, to have greater effect. Only the drivers are on strike, everybody else works, and still there are no trains.

There's been no real improvement in transport availability since the beginning Tuesday last week. Only two (Paris) Métro lines are reliable, the rest and the RER, you may or may not get a train, and you waste a lot of time trying.

The comments of people above about the sabotage yesterday seem to me unrealistic. The fact is there has always been an extremely hardline union core, especially in the SNCF, and they've been going on strike ever since I came to Paris in 1991. The idea that they're going to abandon easily the special regime retirements is unimaginable. They won once back in 1995, and I should think they're planning a long fight - two or three weeks, I wouldn't be surprised, but it will stop before Christmas - even if the majority of the public here are against them.

I would think that it will come to an end when it comes down to fisticuffs between the public and the train drivers. I am surprised that it has not happened yet; train drivers getting beaten up by an angry public is not unknown.