French Strikes: Industrial action to hit transport

May 30, 2016

AIRPORTS and ports will be the focus of fresh strikes this week, while rail workers settle into rolling strikes from tomorrow.

Staff at airports and airlines in France have called for a strike from June 3-5 citing problems within the industry.

Meanwhile four rail unions have called for rolling strikes from tomorrow (CGT, UNSA, SUD-Rail, CFDT). These strikes are in opposition to negotiations on new contracts in preparation for opening the market.

The secretary general of the CGT Philippe Martinez said, as the Euro 2016 tournament nears, that the unions “did not want to stop people going to watch the matches” but that the government needed to enter discussions. “It’s all in their hands,” he added.

The CGT has called for an “unlimited” strike for its members of the Paris public transport group RATP from Thursday. Another union, SUD-RATP, has asked members to begin similar action, but to start on June 10 – the opening day of Euro 2016.

The CGT has also called for a 24-strike among the national federation of ports and docks workers on June 2.

It has also asked workers to “continue and step up action” against labour reforms ahead of another national strike on June 14.

Most of the country’s oil depots have been unblocked however, of Francé eight refineries, four are still halted and two are running on low production. A strike is also in place at fuel depots in Le Havre, which supplies kerosene to aircraft at Orly and Charles de Gaulle airport – however the government has imposed a minimum production service in this instance.

Postal workers have blockaded a sorting office in Lesquin in the Nord, in what could be an additional sector to join the labour reforms protests.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls yesterday said that the government would see the project through to the end.

In an interview he said he did not wish to join “the long list of politicians who have given up in the face of protests”.

According to Le Monde Valls spoke with the head of the CGT on Sunday, the latter urging him to scrap article 2 of the loi El Khomri, which says that work deals organised in a national office will take precedent over deals secured in branch offices.

The El Khomri labour reforms give business greater powers to set their working hours and overtime instead of following national guidelines.

The government pushed the reforms through the National Assembly without a vote, using a constitutional clause, an act which has angered unions.

A recent poll showed 62% of the public support the strikers and another national strike across all sectors is due on June 14 to mark the day when the Senate begins debating the bill.

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