So France is on strike. It is the weirdest thing to see how people take to the streets to protest. For me it is a first since neither in Holland nor in Australia have I experienced anything like this.
As far as I understand it the main thing that they are protesting is the retirement reform, however it seems that it this is being used as a catalyst. The Frenchies have been unhappy for quite some time with Mr Sarkozy and I guess when he suggested that the retirement age needs to be increased from 60 to 62 it was all that was needed for people to go on strike and show their unhappiness with Sarkozy. Not only are many different unions on strike, students have also joined. The very interesting thing here is that there is a clear difference between the campuses. I am at the science faculty, where students and teachers just continued with whatever they have going on. The campus in the city however houses Law, Language and Art students and there everything was blocked for 3 days. The scientists at least over here don’t seem to bothered with the change of rules. In my lab, while no one went on strike, there is one dude who totally agrees with the strike while my boss thinks that it is necessary to do the suggested reforms. I tend to agree with her especially after hearing the argument of F when I said: but does it not make sense to save some money by increasing the retirement age, with the crisis etc” He answered me and said that there is deficit the Goverment should just take money from the rich companies and use it. He was definitely not joking when he said he was a believer in Communism.
EDIT: Senate has voted, the reforms are made law but major protests are planned for Thursday.. I got caught up in my work and never finished the post…
What I wanted to say, is that it is really fascinating to me that people firmly believe in the power of Strike and they obviously do have reason since many things have been achieved using Strikes. As I said I am not really affected by it, today the trains were running just fine but there is hardly any Petrol in Tours, there are massive queues at the gas stations and people are actually getting pretty aggressive with each other. .Thankfully I have TESSA and she does not require any gas!
I am not sure how much longer this will continue, the laws changed and people that are striking do not get payed salary so I think it would be hard to keep going for a very long time. And surprisingly, while people do support the strikes, they also nearly all (except F, my workmate) realise that it is necessary for future generations. Will see what is going on in 3 weeks when I come back from Sydney!