French unions have a reputation when it comes to work stoppages, but political scientist Guy Groux suggests this may be changing. In 1968, there were millions of strikers, both in the public and private sectors. In 1995, strikes began to be replaced by temporary work stoppages. The development continued in 2003 and 2006, when unions protested against early retirement cuts and flexible labour contracts for young workers. During protests on 29 January this year, between 25 and 40% of workers in sectors like la Poste, the SNCF and France Telecom participated in strikes. In 1995, more than 60% of workers of la Poste were on strike.
“Ever fewer strikers and more demonstrators”, concludes Groux, although he does not provide any data on the number of participants in manifestations. Union protests move from the workplace to the public space.
Image: Protest on 29 January in Paris (photo xnxbox)