France: Strikes Against Emmanuel Macron Enter Third Week

The strikes against pension reforms have massive support in France (Picture via: libcom.org

Though the situation for those needing to use public transport in France has improved slightly in the past week on nationwide strikes in protest at the government’s proposed reforms to labour law and retirement pensions entered their week. Official spokespeople claim there has been progress in negotiations with unions, but there is little observable evidence to support this.

However, the crisis hitting France, one of the world’s biggest economies at the height of the holiday season is far from over.

Anti-government protesters maintained the pressure on President Emmanuel Macron with a new march through Paris in yesterday afternoon. Some workers are determined to to maintain the general strike throughout the holiday period and into the New Year.

SNCF, the state owned rail system said about 60 per cent of trains were at a standstill, down from 90 per cent earlier in the strike but enough to disrupt life in the nation. Provincial cities have suffered fewer problems but in Paris tourists and commuters alike are still struggling to move around the French capital, due to buses and the subway system as well as local train servuces being hit by the industrial action.

The centrist Macron, a former investment banker, wants to raise the retirement age to 64 and says the current pension system costs too much; unions say the pension reform is part of Macron’s plans to dismantle hard-won worker rights, and want to preserve a system that allows some workers to leave as early as their fifties.

Many protestors are angry that while Macron says the nation cannot afford to pay pensions the president is still inviting uneducated, unskilled, uncivilised, unemployable third world migrants to the country where they are fed, housed, educated and cared for at the expense of French taxpayers.

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General Strike brings France To Standstill As Nation Protests Macron Policies

France has been closer to social breakdown than the political establishment in the EU and their mainstream media sock puppets will ever admit since the the gilets jaunes demonstrations at their height nearly torched Paris and other cities. It would be a mistake to think, as television news bulletins and large circulation newspapers have suggested that support fot the protest movement has dwindled or the national mood is any less angry. Last month we reported on protests promted by new, over – zealous restrictions on agriculture imposed by the EU, as thousands of French farmers drove their tractors into Paris and other cities and blocked the main highways.

Today, in responce to calls by unions and activist groups for a nationwide strike, public workers across the country stayed home on Thursday, immobilizing public transit across the country as the first general strike in more than 20 years began.

The main reason for the walkout was President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms (not unlike how a planned – then scrapped – gas tax hike sparked the giles jaunes).

On the fist day of the strike, which is planned to last through the weekend, parts of Paris resembled ghost towns during the morning rush hours. Roads were empty, and train stations were deserted, according to the Times.

The biggest industrial action of Macron’s tenure is, so far, outweighting by a huge margin the Yellow Vests protests  in scale: 50% of French teachers are reported to be off work, nine out of ten trains have been cancelled today and eleven of the fourteen lines in the Paris Metro are closed. A total of 245 separate demonstrations have been announced across France as students,  police officers and firefighters, healthcare workers and others joining the action. Striking ground staff at Air France forced numerous flight cancellations, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. Air France cancelled 30% of its domestic flights and 10% of international short- and medium-haul flights on Thursday, RT reports.

Millions of workers are staying home.

In Paris, some commuters and shoppers resorted to bikes, skateboards or walking in the bitter cold as buses and underground trains failed to run. Some joked that the strike had made Paris into a much more ‘eco-friendly’ city. This  way of looking at the situation must have appealed to thousands of Extinction Rebellion activists and other environmentalist groups who took the opportunity to link their the climate action agenda to the protests.

The strike is expected to continue until Monday as the unions and Macron butt heads over the controversial pension reform proposals. Paris police are deploying 6,000 riot police to do battle with demonstrators who have decided to take their yellow vests out of the closet and back into action.

Many of the French capital’s most popular tourist spots were forced to shut their doors because of the strikes. The Eiffel Tower and the Orsay museum did not open on Thursday, while the large parts of The Louvre, the Pompidou Center and other museums were mostly closed with only the most popular exhibits accessible.

Outside the busy Gare du Nord railway station taxis lined up with their green lights on, struggling to find customers in the deserted streets.

Of more immediate concern for Macron and his beleagured government is the fact that dozens of gilet jaunes protesters are blocking the nations major fuel terminals in the south and near the city of Orleans, leaving more than 200 petrol stations without fuel on Thursday, while another 400 report they will run out on Friday. If that action persists the country could be at a standstill by the end of next week. These blockades show the protesters have a coherent strategy which could bring the country to its knees and force Macron out of office or at least into a humiliating climb down. No matter how many times political leaders wax lyrical about the wonders of clean, green, sustainable energy, society still needs oil,  in spite what the Swedeish Baby Troll Greta Thunberg and her supporters wish for.

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Paris brought to a standstill by anti-Macron transport protests

On Friday, public transport workers in Paris staged a coordinated walk-out against Macron’s planned pension former which caused the worst disturbance to the French capital’s public transport network in more than a decade.

The strike represents the first major action taken against President Macron’s plan to standardized ‘universal’ pension system. The plan would see one single points-based pension system created out of the 42 different systems which currently are in place right now, the Local reports.

Massive traffic jams and large crowds waiting at the platforms with at least a few lines still working were both triggered by the protest.

Israel closes embassies around the world as diplomats strike

Strange news from Reuters and other reliable sources. Israel has closed all its embassies around the world and the staff are heading for home. The official reason given is that the diplomatic staff have gone on strike.

WTF? Diplomatic staff don’t go on strike. something is up.

One quick off the mark conspiracy theorist reckons its all to do with the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, the Yanks at Diego Garcia have cracked the Chinese electronic warfare experts who were on board, obtained the security codes to Chinese government military communications and are about to launch some kind of cyber assault on China and Russia.

Boggart Blog could not possibly comment on that of course, nor on the theory that Israel is about to launch a unilateral attack on Iran (a rumour that comes up at least one a month. All we know is that anybody who believes that bullshit about flight 370 disappearing off radar, flying for another seven hours and then coming down in the Indian Ocean without leaving a trace is terminally naive.

What is certain is that faith in governments has reached such a low point we are ready to believe these psychotic control freaks are capable of absolutely anything, no matter how insane.

Israel closes embassies around the world – Reuters

The Civil Service Ten Minute Dump

Our post on the civil service strike a few weeks ago, in which we pointed out the one day strike by civil servants had not been effective as nobody had noticed they were on strike attracted a number of long, rambling, bad temepered comments from civil servants anxious to tell us how hard they were working.

We would point out that all these long, rambling, bad tempered comments were written during working hours on a non – strike day but the irony would be lost on the whiners.

Today we found a news story about civil servants somewhere in the midlands complaing a new money saving device in their office is turning off the toilet light after ten minutes.

Now I know civil servants have to do everything in triplicate but ten minutes for a dump??? If they are complaining it is not enough time to finish what they went in for I guess that proves something else many of us have suspected for a long time about civil servants.

Timing device limits civil servants to 10 minutes in the toilet.

Civil Service Strike Doesn’t Paralyze The Country

Have you noticed how the Civil Serrvice strike today has caused the country to grind almost to a halt?

No?

Neither have we.

We sould not mock however, rather we should support them. Apart from the whole thing having a bit of a Star Wars theme, The Bureaucratic Empire Strike Back as it were, not going to work is the most useful thing many of them have done in years.

More humour every day at Boggart Blog

Postman Pat the Strike Breaking Scab

The Postmen are on strike today, protesting against lousy pay offers, creeping privatisation, the erosion of workers rights, unrestrained Big Fierce Dogs and the silly hats postmen have to wear.

Not so many years ago the Post Office and Telecommunications Union could bring the nation to a standstill. They are not so powerful now, but a postal strike can still make government’s sit up and take notice so long as the strikers remember the first rule of collective action is solidarity.

As a former shop steward (T&GWU staff section) I was dismayed to switch on my TV today, and see a strike breaking scab featured in a morning show.

Postman Pat was delivering letters as usual…