Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 26 November 2008

France: Education strikes on the agenda

MORE THAN 250,000 teachers and youth demonstrated in France on 20 November. At the same time half of all teachers were on strike. It was the first national strike day in all the sectors of national education - nursery, primary, secondary and university - since last May. It was a massive mobilisation.

Leila Messaoudi, Gauche Révolutionnaire, France

Teachers are fed up with the huge amount of attacks launched by the government of Sarkozy-Fillon-Darcos. Teachers' working conditions and study opportunities for the young are worsening quickly, with cuts in jobs and budgets. These government 'reforms' are in order to adapt education to the economic needs of the bosses.

The attacks are simultaneously against each part of the education public service, from the Ecole maternelle (free nursery schools for three to six year-old children) through to universities. This explains the success of the strike. The economic crisis and the bailouts to banks and bosses from the government have also strengthened workers' anger.

A sign of the anger was the number of people attending general assemblies held by trade unions. Usually, these meetings are empty but this time a lot of teachers came along, with hundreds present in a lot of regions and départements.


The strike's success has opened up the potential for building a national strike movement. That probably explains why the National Education minister, Xavier Darcos, was so aggressive and angry in his declaration on the morning of the strike. He said: "Nothing will change, the cuts will continue... More than 11,200 jobs in 2008, 13,500 next year..."

He denounced "the culture of striking with 33 days of strikes since 2000 in the sector". He attacked the trade unions as the most "conservative part" of the teacher body and said that "demonstrators have to realise that France is moving quicker than their contingents in demonstrations!" (RTL radio, 20 November)

The government is doing its utmost to stop the strikes and is trying to discredit the movement. For several months, Darcos and Fillon (prime minister) have succeeded in embroiling the trade union leaderships in the government's agenda.

In September and October, the union leaderships were arguing the need to 'modernise national education' and the danger of the so-called "empty seat" policy. But recently they couldn't stay any more in the government's round table discussions, such is the scale of the attacks. Now, the success of the strike is putting pressure on them.

Mass movement

In several regions, general assemblies have already called for new strike days on 25 and 27 November or both, depending on the region. The trade union leaderships are clearly under pressure to call for a new strike very soon but for now are refusing to do so.

The next general assemblies will have to fight to impose a new strike. This is what Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) members are doing this week in their unions and local assemblies. There is a huge potential, especially with the primary school teachers, that the mobilisation could develop into several days' strike.

In Rouen, our young comrades organised the strike by mobilising the week before. Successfully, a dynamic contingent with 200 school students attended the demonstration. It was often the same school students who mobilised last year, alone, against the baccalaureate reform. And it's clear that next week, they will be in the streets again.

In the current political and economic climate, a movement of teachers and youth in France will quickly affect other sectors. In fact, mobilisations and strikes have taken place in: La Poste (postal service) against privatisation, Air France workers over pensions, by railway workers and local community workers.

We need to build the struggle against the government and the bosses around these strikes. But we also need to link all the sectors together. That is why workers and youth have to fight for an all-sectors national strike day in December: around common fighting aims - against privatisation, cuts in the public sectors and against closures and sackings in the private sector such as the car industry, for example in Peugeot-Citroen.

We should refuse to pay for the capitalist crisis. We can put pressure on the trade union leaderships and build a mass movement against Sarkozy and the bosses based on the general assemblies through a fighting programme of actions and strikes.

That what Gauche Révolutionnaire, is fighting for in the current struggles, inside the unions and involved in the new anti-capitalist party launched by Olivier Besancenot and the LCR. We can offer a genuine anti-capitalist programme, with real socialist measures to oppose capitalism.

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

In The Socialist 26 November 2008:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Darling's prescription... It's spend, spend, spend on the banks... but cuts, cuts, cuts for the NHS

Top-up payments for private health care another step towards two-tier National Health

Environment and socialism

Socialist 'deal' for environment needed

Campaign Against Climate Change march

Socialist Party editorial

Alistair Darling's pre Budget Report: Pain now, pay later

Unison witchhunt

Activists discuss how to reclaim Unison

Meeting pledges to fight witch-hunt

Unison leadership takeover Newham branch

Socialist Party workplace news

Manchester: No redundancies at IMI!

Strike saves jobs at Fiddlers Ferry

Organise to save jobs


BNP membership list: A weak divided party exposed

New Labour hypocrisy on racism

Youth Against Racism gig

Socialist Party campaigns

Campaigning to save post offices

Rover's ex-workers wage cut scandal

Socialist Party feature

China's food contamination crisis deepens

Socialist Party women

Defend abortion rights


Art and revolution

International socialist news and analysis

Somalia piracy - a consequence of western powers' intervention

France: Education strikes on the agenda


Home   |   The Socialist 26 November 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


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

triangleFrance: Macron won't solve economic & social crises


triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

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

triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleUniversity of Leeds workers walk out


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot


triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

triangleSchool spend is behind eastern Europe




Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong



Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't



Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide



Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events



Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia



Germany: Election results in political earthquake



Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!



German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance



French Labour reform protests



Catalonia: Student strike called



Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis



Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state



Berlin hospital strike



Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?



Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International 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