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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lycéens en grève

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Dear Readers,
Protests by the CGT on retirement reforms
As I’m sure you know, we’ve just been through a week of strikes. The CGT and Lycée students, who have joined the strike for the first time, took to the streets this week in the fourth protest against the law reform in less than a month, stating that everyone has to work to a later age of 62 instead of 60, which, needless to say, didn’t go down well and as the French say, “On n’est pas sortie de l’hauberge” yet, with more strikes planned for Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th October.
The French way of approaching the government – action, réaction, meant the reform was protested against from day one by workers and students, the latter less covered by news channels, yet attended by more thanks to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The militant Lycée students protested by marching in the streets with banners, air-horns and anti-sarko chants. In some Lycées, havoc reigned. Blockades were set up in stairwells that were manned all day Wednesday and some of Tuesday. These blockades were designed to stop Lycée students over the age of 16 (the legal striking age) from going into class and were highly successful. Some Lycéens weren’t happy with the blockades at all. “They have the right to strike, but we have the right to an education” shouted Anaïs Faymendy, 16, Wednesday amidst the chaos of the crowd. Replies to remarks like these were sometimes violent with insults being thrown at those not supporting the strikes by the protesters.



On Tuesday, students set up blockades that were less successful than Wednesday’s and sometimes asked for €5 to gain entry to Lycées. However, this plan, failed dismally. The most successful part of the day for the strikers was the march. Escorted by police, over 100 Lycéens filled the streets of Saint Yrieix-la-Perche (87) at 14:00 on Tuesday. The Lycée in this town was amongst the only two Lycées in France to have a blockade programmed for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Despite the outturn, not all Lycéens were in support of the strikes. “We have a BAC to pass at the end of the year” said Morgane Patelout, 16, Tuesday, “how can we pass it if we’re missing out on all these classes?”.



These strikes by the CGT and students are against the law reform. But are there any benefits to working later? Research shows that France retires the earliest among European countries, at the age of 60. Whereas most other countries don’t retire any earlier than 65 (click here). Having a larger workforce means paying less taxes and having a workforce that works later, also means that that already reduced tax rate per year, reduces further because people will be paying over a longer length of time. However, a raise from 60 to 62, doesn’t just keep it less than every other country in Europe, but it proves that France is one of the countries that want to work the least.

Article by The Editor

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