Workers for the state-owned gas and electricity companies (GDF and EDF) have begun a one-day strike after negotiations broke down on Tuesday.
According to company spokesmen the strike is being observed by 14.2% of workers at GDF (compared to 13.4% November 20th) and 13.5% at EDF (28%). There have been four strikes in the last six weeks, with observance reaching 60% in October. At the demonstration during the last strike a cortege of some 50 liberated EDF vehicules with their numberplates covered took part.
Workers at the Paris Opera have been striking since October 18th in defence of their pension regimes.
The strike has caused the cancellation of 17 performances and 8 have gone ahead in a reduced form. The strike is strongest amongst workers from the Sud union, and to a lesser extent FSU. These workers are in the majority amongst lighting and stage hands and as such have a strong position. The FO, CGT and CFDT unions have already agreed to negotiations with management.
In a week that has seen Sarkozy's approval rating drop below 50% yet another group of workers prepares to fight back against worsening conditions.
The diminishing purchase power of workers due to stagnant wages and inflation is a cause for nationwide concern, with workers demanding pay increases and bonuses to make back the losses from sub-inflation offers in previous years.
Some 3000 school and university students marched through the streets of Paris today to show their continuing opposition to the LRU
The march began at the PRG campus (Paris VII) on the South side of the Seine, the march then made its way past the gare d'Austerlitz and finally ended at the place de la Bastille where Police blocked off the exits.
Student demonstrations and occupations are finding themselves the targets of violence organised or incited by the authorities.
In Grenoble today students of the IEPG (Institute of political studies) were setting up the blockade they had voted for. The director of the IEPG, Olivier Ihl, threatened to set dogs on them, although the dogs were reluctant.
A brief account of the results of the meeting, attended by at least 1000 students.
The first motion was that strike committees and coordination with workers and other students were the favoured step and were necessary to win. It refused all attempts to negotiate before the law is withdrawn. and denounced the UNEF for trying to do so.
This was passed by such a massive majority that there was no count.
The assemblée générale was attended by a total of around 130 staff, almost 30 of whom addressed the meeting. A student representative was also present.
The meeting eventually voted on the following proposals:
For the meeting to go to the President's office and deliver a statement condemning the intervention of police on campus and the LRU law. Voted for unanimously
For the word abrogation (annulment) to be replaced with suspension (with regard to the LRU law). 7 for, 1 abstention, 3 non-votes and the rest against.
After nine days of strike action rail workers finally ended their strike, although they did not win their demands the strike still had many positive aspects.
There is a certain bitterness amongst rail workers, with other strikers abandoning solidarity actions and their own unions selling them out. However what must be noted is that the strike itself was a victory for the rank and file.