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Strike in France: less protesters but the stoppages extend and reach the refineries


Sixth assault The unions have tired legs. They only managed to take to the street half of the protesters that last Thursday when the conflict against the reform started

Sixth assault The unions have tired legs. They only managed to bring to the street half of the protesters that last Thursday when the conflict against the retirement reform started. This Wednesday, turn for the prime minister who must announce the details of his project. Deflated expectations: "There will be no magic ads."

The strike is maintained because the hard core endures. Paris is still without a subway (10 lines of 16 closed) and France without trains (only 20% of high-speed trains and the same number of commuters circulate) because three out of four drivers have not gone to work.

The forecast of both companies for this Wednesday hardly change. Slight improvement in overseas traffic and high speed where one in four trains is expected to circulate.

Traffic jams around Paris reached 400 kilometers at 8 in the morning. On a normal day there are 300 but on Monday with rain they exceeded 600 kilometers.

The unions have failed to make the protest turn on completely in the powerful guild of educators . According to the ministry, 12% of primary school teachers and almost 20% of secondary school teachers missed work. For the unions it was 30% and 62%. We must specify that this sector only for the days of struggle.

The conflict has been extinguished in the air sector where a minority drivers union has thrown in the towel. Today there will be no cancellations of flights for this reason.

On the other hand, seven of the eight refineries do not use fuel due to access blockages. At the moment only 5% of the gas stations are lacking some type of fuel. In the electricity company there were less than 30% of strikers, compared to 41% last Thursday.

The prick was also noticed in the street. According to the accounts of the Ministry of Interior, 339,000 people took to the street compared to 806,000 last Thursday , when the mobilization began. The unions counted 800,000 protesters, compared to a million and a half six days ago.

New strikes

Improving the tone of the previous day, there were hardly any incidents and there were only 30 detainees in Paris. Without waiting for the Prime Minister's speech, the CGT has already convened two new mobilization days , on Thursday and next Tuesday. The rest of the unions have not spoken.

Philippe Martinez, general secretary of the CGT, recognized him from the path of the Parisian courtship: " There are fewer people in Paris , there are fewer people in the provinces but the mobilization is still important and the discontent is quite high."

In the latter he is right. The police will show their reinvindications in front of the Economic and Social Council ... at the time the prime minister should speak.

Philippe's moment

Edouard Philippe plays it today. On Tuesday night, the President of the Republic invited him to dinner at the Elysium in the company of ministers and majority cadres. Arbitrations must be made. It's D-day of the prime minister. Macron, so talked about everything has remained in the background on this issue that is nevertheless defined as "the mother of all reforms." If he goes ahead, he will have the road to re-election open in 2022. If he fails, the prime minister will be the fuse and his days will be numbered.

To lower expectations, some phrases from his closed-door meeting with his parliamentary group in the Assembly were leaked: "Not because I make a speech the demonstrations will end. There will be issues to be resolved and there will be debates in the hemicycle on legitimate issues" .

"There will be no magic ads" was the most repeated phrase in all French media. But that is precisely what is expected, a little magic to reassure the sectors that can lose with the new universal system, by distribution and measured by points.

Some even anticipate what that magic can cost. For example, raising salaries for education staff so that their pensions do not fall will mean a disbursement of between 400 and 500 million a year, anticipates Le Monde .

Similar details can reassure health workers or the police. The three most important police unions have called a black out : closed police stations, a zeal strike in border identity checks are on the menu.

Philippe has to marry the principles ( the disappearance of the 42 special regimes ) with compromises that stop the protest. For example, when the new standard comes into force. The year 2025, in principle. The final report of the High Commissioner, Jean Paul Delevoye, opened a two-speed scenario. Give more rope to the conflicting sectors so that they join later. In return, young people who start working would be affiliated from the beginning to the new system.

All without triggering the deficit of the system evaluated between 8,000 and 17,000 million euros in 2025. The estimate is official but varies depending on the number of contributors, salary increases and other factors. There is no doubt that France is the OECD country that spends the most on pensions: 14% of its GDP.

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