//
you're reading...
France

Unions mobilise as France’s jobless top 2.8 million

France’s largest trade union central has called a national demonstration on Saturday to protest against the lengthening jobless queues and in-work poverty amid an escalating national economic and social crisis.

The call, part of a step up in action by the country’s unions, came as figures today showed the number of people actively seeking work in France reached the highest level recorded since December 1999, or 2.81 million.

The data is not good news for President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is widely expected to seek a second mandate in next spring’s presidential election. He pledged to bring down unemployment to 9% before the end of the year,

Still higher unemployment forecast

According to the most recent forecasts from national statistics bureau Insee, unemployment will rise again to reach 9.2% by the end of the year. The OECD today forecast that it would rise further to 10.4% by the end of next year.

This latest piece of bad economic news came on the same day that the OECD called for more austerity in France, even as it admitted the country’s economy, after two rounds of spending cuts and tax-rises this year, was slowing to a stop.

More jobs will likely be lost if Sarkozy’s right wing UMP party succeeds in rolling back 35 hour week legislation introduced by Lionel Jospin ‘s Socialist government in February 2000. This legislation to cut working time created 350,000 jobs and improved work-life balance for French workers. Earlier this month Jean-François Copé, leader the ruling UMP party indicated they were looking at scrapping it.

In-work poverty

People in work are feeling the pain too, with wage freezes in the public sector, pay restraint in the private sector and downward pressure on the earnings of the self-employed. On top of this, workers have been hit this year by austerity measures, including welfare cuts and rises in VAT.

L’Humanité newspaper calculates these measures will take Euros 325 (£269) a month out of the pockets of a single person on a low income (Euros 1,416) and Euros 513 a month from a couple with two children with a joint income of Euros 3,500.

This is part of a wider picture of deepening poverty with 8.2 million living below the poverty line of 954 euros monthly, according to Insee.

The rich are the only ones not feeling the pain – the top 10% wealthiest saw a 0.7% rise in standard of living in 2009, and since 2004 the richest 1% have seen their assets swell by 47%.

Alternative to austerity

In an interview with L’Humanite newspaper today CGT leader Bernard Thibault criticised the government for allowing policy to be dictated by the international rating agencies and said “debt reduction has become an easy alibi to justify [social] regressions.” In the interview with the communist daily paper, he called for a public “financial pole” to promote growth and a concerted drive against tax dodging companies and the wealthy.

The CGT, together with other unions, is planning a rolling programme of anti-austerity mobilisations, kicking off with a day of action in defence of public services on November 30.

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