Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flights and trains cancelled as French Workers Strike to Defend Pensions

Lisbeth Latham

Early reports indicate the national strike in France today is as large as the September 7 strike and if anything bigger at least in transport. AP reports that the civil aviation authority has directed that 50% of flights at Paris’s Orley Airport, which 40% of flights at Charles de Gaul Airport have also been cancelled compared with 25% on September 7. Half of Paris RATP metro-rail services have been cancelled along with 50% of SNCF’s (France national rail network) services.

The French government expectedly is playing down the size of protests. The interior ministry has put out an estimate of street protests mid-day indicating that numbers are down to 410, 000 compared to 450, 000 on September 7. There was a gap of more than 1.5 million between the governement and union estimates of the numbers. Given that polls continue to show high levels of opposition to the attacks on pensions and support for the strikes. A poll in the Left-wing daily Liberation 63% of respondents supported the strikers, while 29% supported the government.

Strikes have also been held in Romania, Poland and Greece against Austerity Measures. The European Confederation of Trade Unions has called a Europe wide mobilisation against austerity to be held in Brussels on September 29.

More details on the French strikes once reports go up on union and left websites and I get home from work tomorrow.

Below is a video of a contigent of members of the Force Ouvriere (Workers Force) Confederation at the protests.


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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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