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There are several issues. First, the fact that the regional railway network's organisation is so complex and tight that this kind strike (59 minutes) wreaks havoc in the traffic for the whole day. So a very small loss for the employees leads to a strong effect on the users' lives (with the logical political consequences). This creates an incentive to go on strike for all kinds of reasons. In that case, the railway users were furious because they hadn't been informed about the strike in advance.

And don't tell me railways employees' strikes are defending other employees' interests by proxy (see my comment above): as far as I know, none of their strikes has resulted in improvements in other employees conditions...

SUD is an extreme-left union that exists almost exclusively in the public sector. It never takes part in social dialogue and collective bargaining. One must understand that this rakes place within the framework of the French industrial relations system. In this system, when a collective agreement is signed by a union (and not opposed by unions representing a majority of the employees), it applies to all the employees of the company/sector, regardless they are unionised or not. So it is easy to voice radical positions and benefit from the results of bargaining by other, more moderate unions...

And, yes, Sarkozy is jumping on this opportunity created by a relatively unpopular strike to push his anti-union agenda. More generally, I am worried by the nomination of Brice Hortefeux as Minister of Labour. Xavier Bertrand, even if he was in line with Sarkozy, was very knowledgeable in the field of labour and social affairs and had maintained the dialogue with the unions. I fear Hortefeux is going to adopt a much harder line...

And yes,

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Fri Jan 16th, 2009 at 04:35:48 AM EST

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