Thursday, November 22, 2007

Strike News

42 of 45 AGs at the SNCF have voted to suspend the strike. SUD-RATP, the most militant of the unions in the Paris Métro, has taken note of dwindling strike participation and may join the negotiations under way, from which it had stayed away yesterday.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Political commentator Jean Michel Aphatie reads between the lines on his blog today. Seems that the government has very subtly but concretely caved on their red lines. Check it out...

http://blogs.rtl.fr/aphatie/index.php/post/2007/11/22/Un-bouge-qui-pourrait-couter-22/11

Unknown said...

Alexander,
Thanks ... I'm sure there is some "bougé," as Aphatie suggests. After all, that's what negotiation means. But I think there's more insinuation in this commentary than fact.

TexExile said...

While I would hate to see the government make excessive concessions to the strikers to settle this business, I think Aphatie misses the point of the current battle. The issue is not the cost-savings arising from a reform of the régimes spéciaux, which are, in the larger scheme of things, relatively limited. They're absurdly generous but the savings from eliminating them would be small compared to France's overall pension problems.

The real issue is the need to take the next steps in implementing the 2003 pension reform, which come in 2008. These should be more or less automatic, as they are already enshrined in law (a further rise in the minimum contribution period, increased contribution rates), but they are likely to be resisted if the régimes spéciaux are left alone. Pushing the private sector and the rest of the public sector even further down the path of reform will be politically unacceptable -- and manifestly unjust -- if the public enterprises remain untouched.

So the key issue is not the immediate savings but the need to get the employees of the RATP, SNCF, etc, to 40 years of cotisations, etc. Provided that any concessions are transitional (offsetting the costs to those approaching retirement but not extending to new entrants into the system), they may be a price worth paying to align the regimes in such a way that further reforms can proceed.