Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 November 2007

France: Transport strikes suspended

But workers' fightback continues on other fronts

AFTER TAKING nine days of strike action, the longest for 12 years, French national SNCF rail and Paris urban transport workers called off their action on 23 November. The media declared this a victory for president Nicolas Sarkozy's pension cuts and Sarkozy himself said: "I promised this reform and I have kept my promise".

Judy Beishon

But this is only a symbolic and possibly temporary victory for Sarkozy because it has been bought by offering compensation to workers affected which will wipe out any short-term financial gain for the government, and workers could resume the strike after the negotiations.

Six rail trade unions have entered into a month of talks with the employers and government. Electricity and gas workers also face negotiations over the same pension cuts. The government wants to increase the number of years these sections of workers must work before retirement (from 37.5 to 40 years) and index their pensions to prices rather than wages.

Rail and energy workers responded angrily to these attacks and also towards the CGT union federation leadership who were too willing to call off the strike. Nauseating to these workers, Sarkozy's social policy adviser paid tribute to the "spirit of responsibility" of CGT leader Bernard Thibault.

In contrast, the Sud union, though much smaller than the CGT in the SNCF network, took a determined anti-government stance and is growing as a result.

Through their grassroots general assemblies, many rail workers have demanded that they be consulted regarding the coming decisions of their union leaderships. Strike committees and general assemblies – involving both trade union and non-trade union workers – can play a crucial role in France in building and organising industrial action and in resisting attempts by the union leaders to back down.

If Sarkozy wins this initial pension battle, he will try to attack other sections of workers in the same way. But his anti-working class offensive is presently facing a workers' fightback on three fronts. As well as the pensions struggle, on 20 November, public-sector workers had a one-day strike against low pay and 100,000 job cuts; and students are fighting the 'Pécresse' reforms (Valérie Pécresse is the minister for higher education and research).

The demonstrations on 20 November involved 700,000 people in 150 towns and cities. As well as teachers, civil servants, customs officers, firemen, hospital staff and other sections of the public sector, the marches included delegations from the private sector and contingents of university and school students. Print distribution workers were also on strike on the same day against restructuring.

The Pécresse plans, opposed by students, are for university autonomy and pave the way for increased tuition fees, private sector financial sponsorship, competition and quality differences between universities.

An opinion poll published on 19 November showed confidence in Sarkozy down five points in one month, to 51%, and prime minister François Fillon on 41%.

As this right-wing government loses support, the French Socialist Party remains in basic agreement with its attacks, and despite this, the Green and Communist parties look to being in alliance with the Socialist Party.

Gauche Révolutionnaire, the French section of the Committee for a Workers' International, is actively involved in the present struggles and is calling for a general strike to unite them, drawing in the private sector. They are also taking part in discussions on the left about the formation of a much needed new workers' party.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 29 November 2007:

Northern Rock scandal: Nationalise the banks!

Environment and socialism

Stop the ruin of our planet

What we think

Mass scrutiny needed to protect our rights and privacy

Data loss - no surprise to HMRC staff

Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS - new 'surplus' but problems continue

Demo shows support for victimised nurse

Socialist Party news and analysis

QinetiQ sell-off

In brief: Who safeguards safety?

Socialist Students

Fight to save the NUS!

Students protest at Griffin and Irving

Exeter students gain anti-fascist victory

Kick the BNP out of Northumbria

Nigerian students detained

Defend students from victimisation

Che Guevara meetings

International socialist news and analysis

Brazil: An explosive brew in land of contrasts

Australia: Howard disappears under a Labor party landslide

France: Transport strikes suspended

Scotland: Solidarity conference

Marxist analysis: history

Preparing a revolution and its party

Workplace news and analysis

Communication Workers Union ballot

Teachers need a fighting union leadership

Construction bosses found guilty

In brief


Home   |   The Socialist 29 November 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleTravel chaos for Ryanair customers as airline cancels thousands of flights

triangleLondon Buses safety campaign

triangleBus safety: we won't be distracted from public ownership

triangleShould you be furious about 'furious cycling'?

triangle'Freedom riders' lobby against violent policing


triangleFrench Labour reform protests

triangleFrench elections: Macron's win

triangleFrench elections: time to build a fighting left alternative

triangleFrance - Huge voter abstention belies Macron's 'landslide' election

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice