France: round-up of strikes and more government attacks on conditions

Striking SNCF rail-workers block the tracks

The government continues attacking workers and immigrants and workers continue defending themselves.

Submitted by jef costello on January 16, 2008

Just outside of Paris at the Areva TD factory in Montrouge, 89 striking workers have been occupying and blockading the factory for four days.The movement began after management announced plans to close the factory, which produces electrical transformers. Workers are demanding large compensation payments, management is currently refusing to negotiate.

Two men from Meurthe et Moselle have been fined 289 and 100 euros respectively for "blocking the circulation of trains" during the November transport strikes. They were accused of tampering with the brakes on two trains blocked by a picket, one of them was accused of going onto the rails and the other was accused of placing fireworks on the rails.

In Paris' eigth district posties have begun an unlimited strike against a 'modernisation' plan which will relocate sorting office to Gonesse (Val-d'oise) which is over 15km from the district. Observance is 55-60% according to the union Sud-PTT, 40% management.

The four main inter-union groups in the health service are demanding that workers be paid for the four million days time off in lieu that they have accumulated over the last five years. This is due to staff shortages and regulations limiting overtime payments. Unsurprisingly the government is using this to attack the length of the working week and encourage overtime rather than deal with chronic staff shortages. 700M euros have been promised to workers to finally pay them for their work.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon has set a target of 25000 expulsions of illegal immigrants this year. Despite underhand and oppressive tactics they failed to reach the same target last year, expelling 23186 illegal immigrants.

Fillon has also announced 'reform' plans for the state-run ports which amount to privatisation. Management have long been calling for this move, believing this will help them combat the strength of the unions. Management have been trying to exclude unions from hiring in the ports, losing to a CGT strike in Marseille last year.