school, transport, hospital… A major movement?

STRIKE 29 SEPTEMBER. A call to demonstrate has been launched everywhere in France for this Thursday, September 29, 2022. What mobilization should we expect when not all the unions will participate? Which sectors will be affected by the general strike?

[Mis à jour le 28 septembre 2022 à 17h07] France, a casserole ready to explode? In recent weeks, the economic and social context has become tense in the country. The soaring prices of everyday products, but especially those of energy, partly offset by state aid but without lasting effect on wages, especially the lowest, and the announced pension reform have made this September 2022 a particularly risky month for the government. Which will have to face its first general strike of the year, organized Thursday, September 29, 2022.

Three main unions should walk side by side in the processions (CGT, FSU and Solidaires) because “filling the refrigerator, accessing culture, going on vacation is indeed becoming more and more difficult for many workers”, explains the CGT . However, two unions will not parade during the various demonstrations organized throughout the country: the CFDT and FO. For the first, it is a question of not going to demonstrate in all directions and of temporizing a little longer before a general movement, while disputes by professional sector are already led by the organization.

Which sectors are affected by the strike on September 29?

Given the absence of two main unions, the mobilization should not be historic in the processions. In addition, it should be noted that days of strike lead to a suspension of wages. Given the current financial difficulties of the French, the reflection of whether to mobilize or not is all the more central. Some will perhaps favor a weekend movement, like the mobilization organized by the left on Sunday October 16, 2022, a “national initiative [qui] will be part of the continuity of the mobilizations undertaken by the unions and associations”, said in their press release La France insoumise, the Socialist Party as well as Europe Ecology-The Greens and other organizations, on September 16. event is presented as a “great march against high prices and climate inaction”. However, again, not everyone will participate. The Communist Party as well as the trade unions have already indicated that they will not respond However, here is what to expect this Thursday, September 29, 2022:

SNCF strike

The SNCF will be mobilized, which will have a strong impact on rail traffic. It is the circulation of TGV INOUI, OUIGO, TER and Transilien (RER, Lines H, J, N, R) trains that will be impacted on certain lines, from Wednesday September 28 at 7 p.m. to Friday September 30 at 8 a.m. The SNCF websites and those corresponding to the TER will display the traffic situation on D-Day. The SNCF has indicated that the update of the train traffic will be made no later than Wednesday September 28 at 5 p.m. on the site SNCF or via social networks. It has already been announced that in Normandy only one in three trains will run, with no alternative bus routes. In comments reported by Ouest France, the railway company justified this decision “following the shortage of drivers currently facing road transport companies”.

Strike in urban transport

Public transport (buses, trams, metros) will also be impacted by the striking drivers. Check the website of your transport service to know the traffic forecast. Some cities like Rennes will have traffic heavily affected by the strike, many bus lines will operate at idle this September 26 between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.; especially since a diversion will be put in place to avoid the city center where the demonstrators will meet.

Strike at the RATP

An interprofessional strike notice was announced by the CGT-RATP. The website of the Parisian transport network gives more details about the disruptions to come in Parisian transport. There would be no disruptions impacting the journeys of the Paris metro. For the RER operated by RATP, no disruptions are expected on RER A; however, RER B traffic will be disrupted with three out of four trains on average. Bus users in the capital will sometimes have to find alternative solutions because the RATP announces around two out of three buses “with some very disrupted lines”. Tram traffic will be less impacted with nine out of ten trams, except for the T3A line, which will only run between Pont du Garigliano and Porte d’Ivry with one out of two trams.

The RER C and RER D lines, managed by SNCF, will also be disrupted. For the RER C, users will have to plan three out of four trains. The routes of the RED D will be even more disturbed, it will be necessary to expect to see one train in two pass.

Strike in road transport, maritime transport and aviation

The SUD-SOLIDAIRES road transport federation filed a strike notice on 29 September. Maritime traffic could also be impacted because the national federation of ports and docks CGT has called for mobilization over a period of 4 hours. The aviation sector will also be impacted by this inter-professional strike, Toulouse-Blagnac airport affirms that the strike will impact air traffic control from 28/09 at 8 p.m. to 30/09 at 6:30 a.m.

Strikes in schools and National Education

Nursery and primary schools have the obligation to declare themselves strikers beforehand. Teachers who go on strike have the obligation to notify parents beforehand of the conditions of reception, 48 hours before the day of mobilization. Despite the strike, children have the obligation to be welcomed as specified in the law of August 20, 2008 creating a right of reception for the benefit of pupils in nursery and elementary schools. For these establishments, families should have been notified no later than Tuesday, September 26 in the evening. However, for secondary schools, colleges and high schools cannot know which teachers will be absent, because the latter do not have the obligation to declare themselves strikers in advance.

The national secondary education union (SNES) in association with the FSU is calling for an immediate increase in remuneration of at least 10% “to preserve the living conditions of all service agents. public”, “a catch-up of the losses of purchasing power” and “a revaluation of careers.”

The CGT des Services Publics also calls on the Atsem (territorial agents present in the classes of nursery schools) to move forward. Services such as school catering, extracurricular activities and nurseries could also be impacted.

Strike in public services and health

Civil servants are called upon to participate in the national strike (town hall, public services, etc.). The CGT Health Social Action Federation also calls on the health, child protection, disability and old age sectors to join the mobilization. The mobilization in the hospital world took place before September 29. The three signatory hospital unions the FO, the CFDT, the UNSA had launched a strike notice on Tuesday, September 27. Some hospitals responded to it, part of the staff of the Brocéliande hospital was on strike demonstrating against the overpressure of the beds, the closure of the care service and “degraded working conditions”. This same Tuesday in Moselle around thirty caregivers, and members of the Robert-Pax hospital in Sarreguemines expressed their dissatisfaction for lack of personnel.

Where are the demonstrations of September 29, 2022 taking place?

The CGT unveiled a carte interactive to visualize where the gathering places will be. In comments reported by the Voice of the North, the confederal secretary of the CGT, Céline Verzeletti, announces more than 200 places of mobilization. A police source told AFP that the Paris rally would bring together “between 3,000 and 6,000 people”. A figure below the other demonstrations during the strikes of January 27 and March 17, 2022.

  • Paris : Demonstration at 2 p.m., Place Denfert-Rochereau
  • Rennes: Demonstration at 11 a.m., Place Charles-de-Gaulle
  • Bordeaux: Demonstration at 11.30 a.m., Place de la République
  • Carcassonne: Demonstration at 2 p.m., Portail des Jacobins
  • Toulouse: Demonstration at 2 p.m., Place Arnaud Bernard
  • Rouen: Demonstration at 10 a.m., Cours Clémenceau
  • Caen: Demonstration at 11 a.m., Place St Pierre
  • Nice: Demonstration at 10 a.m., at the Jardin Albert
  • Marseille: Demonstration at 10 a.m. at Les Mobiles (at the top of La Canebière)

What are the demands of the strikers?

One of the main demands of this general mobilization is the opposition of the unions to the highly criticized pension reform involving a decline in the retirement age to 65 years. This September 27 at the microphone of BFMTV, Philippe Martinez, secretary general of the CGT, urged Emmanuel Macron to show “a little more humility” on this subject considering that he had to “listen” because the majority of French would be against this reform which he described as “aberration”. For the secretary general of the CGT, “when there are so many unemployed in this country to keep those who have a job longer at work, that means preventing those who don’t have one from finding one.”

The CGT, in its communiqué, calls for a “real reflection on salaries”. For the workers “filling the refrigerator, accessing culture, going on vacation is indeed becoming more and more difficult”. Here are the main demands:

  • increase the gross minimum wage to €15 per hour, against €11.07 currently;
  • an income at the level of the SMIC for the unemployed;
  • an autonomy allowance for students and young people looking for their first job;
  • a revaluation of retirement pensions (minimum of €2,000 gross);
  • equal pay between men and women;
  • a minimum basic salary depending on the level of qualification (at least €2,800 for a BAC, €3,200 for a BTS-DUT, etc.);
  • better wages for apprentices;
  • reduction of the VAT rate to 5.5% for basic necessities;
  • lower rents;
  • the decrease in fuel prices ;
  • the end of exemptions from tax and social security contributions.

Other strikes in perspective?

Laurent Berger, secretary general of the CFDT, guest of Sonia Mabrouk’s program this Monday, September 26, warned of a risk of strong mobilization if the pension reform went into force. He informed that there would be “an opposition which will be frontal, on the part of the trade union organizations and in particular of the CFDT”. On October 3, all the French trade unions will be invited to the premises of the UNSA. Perhaps the opportunity to agree on the date of a future national strike?

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