France: Schoolchildren join student and teacher strikes

School students also played an important role in the Anti-CPE struggle last year
School students also played an important role in the Anti-CPE struggle last year

Across the country secondary school students are voting to join strikes in support of university students and the wider struggle.

Submitted by jef costello on November 20, 2007

Tomorrow many of France's teachers will go on strike as part of a wider civil service action. Some universities have seen staff vote on further solidarity action with students.

Although not widely reported school students are joining the student strikes, although this is often dismissed as children wanting to avoid school, which it may be in some cases, there is no doubt that there are political motivations. The pupils recognise that they are the students of tomorrow and they also come out very strongly against the immigration policies of Sarkozy's government. Policies that have politicised children as police set up checkpoints outside schools and check documents and arrest sans-papiers as they come to collect their children and grandchildren. Even before the strikes many schools were organising solidarity actions with pupils and families threatened with deportation.

In Normandy four lycées in and around Caen are confirmed to have begun strikes: Jean Rostand and Augustin Fresnel in Caen, Salvador Allende at Hérouville-Saint-Clair and Louis Liard at Falaise. Pupils at many other lycées in the region are voting on strikes and blockades. Where AGs vote against action many are still planning to attend demonstrations today (Tuesday) and the national demonstrations on November 22nd called by the student strike committee.

In Paris lycées Jean Jaures, Montreuil, Monet, Rodin, Paul Bert and Montaigne have all voted for strike action for today with the first two having been blockaded for over a week by students in spite of police repression. Pupils from Henri IV , Louis le grand , Lamartine and other schools will meet tomorrow to join the demonstrations even if the schools are not blockaded.

Near La Rochelle the independent maritime CEPMO lycée voted massively in favour of two days of strike action to allow students to attend demonstrations with an AG on Thursday morning to vote on a continuation.

According to the CNT education section (FTE) the education ministry has written to local education authorities telling them to hire strike breakers to run a minimum service and to use community facilities if school buildings are not available.

According to reports on Indymedia 41 universities are partly or completely on strike and blockaded: Paris I (Tolbiac), Paris III, Paris IV (Clignancourt and La Sorbonne), Paris VII, Paris VIII Saint Denis, Paris X Nanterre, Paris XIII Villetaneuse, Rouen, Tours, Caen, Nantes, Rennes II, Toulouse II le Mirail, Toulouse III Rangueil, Pau, Perpignan, Aix-Marseille I (both Aix and Marseille campuses), Lyon II, Montpellier II, Montpellier III, Lille III, Limoges, Brest, Le Havre, Bordeaux I, Bordeaux II, Bordeaux III, Amiens, Angers, Metz, Nancy II, La Rochelle, Dijon, Grenoble III, Orléans, Reims, Saint Etienne, Valenciennes, Poitiers, Arras.

Paris VII university, which recently joined the strike is beginning to organise solidarity actions with workers from the nearby gare d'Austerlitz. With rail-workers and students attending each others' AGs, at the last ones students voted 60% in favour of continued action rail-workers 100%. Homeless support action is also taking place in the area.

At La Sorbonne some 150 people attacked the blockades injuring several of those on the blockades and causing damage to the buildings and furniture. A member of the teaching staff has been accused of inciting, leading and physically participating in these attacks, including asaulting striking students. Unsurprisingly riot police chose not to intervene during these attacks, the attackers then announced unilaterally that an AG would be held tomorrow. The strike committee has announced that the blockade will continue as had been democratically decided.

The largest teaching union Snesup, called on members to hold AGs on Monday to decide upon solidarity strike action. Teachers were already due to go on strike Today. Some institutions have already held votes with teachers voting to strike in solidarity with students.