France’s public sector strike: How it will affect you
For the first time in ten years on Tuesday, nine unions representing France’s public service workers are jointly calling on employees to strike against the government's raft of "negative" employment reforms.
Published: 10 October 2017 08:40 CEST
Tuesday’s strike will see thousands of public sector workers down tools across France, with around 130 demonstrations and gatherings planned across 90 of the country’s 96 departments.
In total, 5.4 million workers have been called on to join in the strike.
And while the catalyst for the protests differs between unions, the main factor is the government’s plan to remove tens of thousands of public service jobs, plus the recently imposed pay freeze, threats against paid sick leave and the recently introduced raft of labour reforms.
These are the sectors that will be affected:
All of France’s teachers, including those working at private schools, have been called on to strike and general secretary of Snuipp-FSU, France's main union for primary school workers, Francette Popineau, said he expects the action to be “very popular”.
The three most important issues in pushing teachers to strike, according to Popineau, is the attack on their spending power – with particular reference to the pay freeze and rise in social security payments, plus the government's controversial decision to dock pay for the first day of sick leave (jour de carence) to fight against absenteeism.
In Paris, Snuipp-FSU 75 predicts that 55 percent of teachers will strike and that 70 schools will close and will depend on how many teachers are on strike.
Luckily for those planning on travelling by train on Tuesday, TGV, Transilien, TER, Eurostar and Thalys services will be operating as normal, bosses at France’s state-owned rail company SNCF said on Sunday night.
Only the CFDT-Cheminots and SUD-rail unions called on workers to strike on Tuesday, with CFDT-Cheminots against the government’s changes to the labour code and the rise in social security contributions.
And while all three unions representing workers of Paris's state-owned public transport operator RATP – the hard line CGT, Unsa and SUD – called on employees to strike, the only disruptions predicted at the moment are to buses that will change routes to avoid the march between Republique and Nation.
The airports affected are likely to include Paris' two main airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, as well as Beauvais, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes.
“Disruptions are expected throughout the country” on Tuesday, the ministry said in a statement.
For the first time since 2009, hospital unions joined in the call for strikes.
Doctors, pharmacists and dentists are invited to strike along with nursing staff against working conditions and budgetary cuts, as well as the pay freeze and the re-introduction of unpaid leave in case of sickness.
This could see services delayed throughout Tuesday.
Police, tribunals, unemployment offices…
These are just some of the other sectors that will be affected by Tuesday's strikes, with the departments of the CFDT and Unsa unions dealing with police calling on members to join the street protests.
Companies that used to form part of France's public sector, including the postal service and mobile companies like Orange have also been called on to strike, along with people working in the country's unemployment centres, employees at tribunals, library and gym staff.
Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden
The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.
Published: 24 April 2022 15:56 CEST
SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.
Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.
Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.
“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.
SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.
In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.
“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.
During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.
Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police.
Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared.
Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.
In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.