//
you're reading...
France

France set for summer of discontent

By TOM GILL

PRESSURE is building on the Right-wing Government of JeanPierre Raffarin to withdraw a Bill that will slash pensions in France’s public sector.

The country is bracing itself for more strikes next week after French air-traffic controllers and teachers spearheaded this Tuesday’s industrial action in the public sector which closed schools and caused serious disruption for travellers throughout Europe.

The French action mirrors protests throughout the continent against pension reform, but contrasts with Britain where demands for better old-age pensioms have failed to translate into mass mobilisations, despite the fact that British pensioners are among the poorest in the European Union and certainly poorer than their French counterparts.

The controversial draft pensions law, due to go before the French Parliament next month, calls for the age of retirement to be raised.

Teachers, engaged in their ninth walk-out since the beginning of the school year, were at the forefront of the action, swelling the protestors’ ranks by 800,000. They are fighting in a separate battle with the Government over a decentralisation scheme under which 100,000 posts held by maintenance staff, technicians and school doctors will no longer depend on the education ministry but on regional authorities.

This is strongly opposed by unions who fear the break-up of a national teaching system.

Meanwhile, Francois Flinn, the Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, has claimed that France “does not have the means” to finance pensions , at current levels and that “there is no alternative” to his reform plans.

However, the CGT, France’s largest trade union, rejects an increase in retirement age and argues that pensions should be indexed to wages. The union’s view is that this could be financed both by cutting dole queues, which would broaden the base of contributors, and taxing profits derived from non-productive activities.

Fondation Copemic, a think-tank close to sections of France’s trade union movement, and anti-globalisation organisations such as ATTAC, say that France will continue to get wealthier over the next decade so pensions could easily be financed.

Under measures introduced by the Right-wing Government some 10 years ago, private-sector workers were forced to increase the number of years of contributions to gain a full pension from 37.5 years to 40 years.

Sections of the Socialist Party, the Greens and the Communists are committed to reversing this reform and all opposition parties support maintaining the right of publicsector workers to a full pension after working 37.5 years.

http://archive.tribune.netcopy.co.uk/article/30th-may-2003/4/france-set-for-summer-of-discontent

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Twitter Updates

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

DATA

Anti-social Europe in numbers

WAGES SLIDE

Key facts and figures on wages across the EU

Wealth Inequality in Europe

Get the key facts and figures

RADICAL VOICES

A different take on European issues

Italy’s Healthcare Crisis

Health services are ‘close to collapse’ in Rome, Turin and Naples after years of cuts and privatisation.

550 days, 29 Workers, Zero Job Losses

How a few determined Italian women stopped their factory closing and protected their livelihoods

Filthy Rich

France's Bernard Arnault of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) empire is worth $41 billion. Check out Europe's rich list

SANTA DRAGHI’S COMING

Private banks receive half-trillion-euro gift from ECB

POPULAR FIGHTBACK

Workers and citizens stand up for themselves

FLORENCE’S BUS LUMACA

Workers are on a go-slow over privatisation

Popular resistance delivers results

Lessons from the victory against Madrid privatisation plan

FRENCH FACTORY OCCUPATION

Hundreds of workers occupied the factory of ArcelorMittal in Florange in the north of France

RSS Fight discrimination in Europe – Amnesty Int’l

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

in Italy the home is a very dangerous place to be

LABOUR RIGHTS

Follow Revolting Europe on WordPress.com

Subjects

EUROPE NEEDS A CITIZENS’ REVOLUTION

Read the statement by Lafontaine and Melenchon

The Troika in Portugal – Three Years On

A success story?

THE EURO

The Dossier

FRANCE

GERMANY

GREECE

ITALY

PORTUGAL

SPAIN