A wave of strikes hits France

Author (Person)
Series Details March 2018
Publication Date 22/03/2018
Content Type

Further information:

Rail and public service strikes started on 18 March 2018 in France.

The trade unions were protesting against the multi-front reform drive proposed by French president Emmanuel Macron. In particular, the four main unions representing rail workers, called 'cheminots', were angered by the government’s plans for change at SNCF, including the abolition of job-for-life guarantees, automatic annual pay rises and generous early retirement.

Rail strikes were planned for two out of every five days from 3 April until 28 June 2018 unless the government dropped its plan. The strikes would affect both passenger trains and SNCF Fret, the freight branch of the company.

On 17 April 2018, the National Assembly - the lower house of Parliament - approved the bill that would abolish the state monopoly. Another vote was scheduled in the Senate - the upper house of parliament - in May before the process of parliamentary approval was completed.

The rail-workers were to be joined by employees of Air France who planned to carry out strikes throughout April in order to get a 6% salary increase.

Students also protested against Macron's reforms. His proposal to select students on merit struck a nerve among students who, in turn, started blocking university campuses. These blockades became increasingly more violent. Indeed, students occupying a lecture theatre in the Université de Montpellier were attacked by masked men. Students blocking universities in Paris were evacuated by riot police.

The situation in France was reminiscent of the May 68 strikes and industrial unrest.A wave of strikes hit France in the spring of 2018 with trade unions criticising the labour market reforms of the French government under President Emmanuel Macron.

Related Links
Euro|topics, April 2018: Spring of protest in France http://www.eurotopics.net/en/197529/spring-of-protest-in-france
Euronews: 10.04.18: French students continue protests against education reform http://www.euronews.com/2018/04/10/french-students-continue-protests-against-education-reform
The Guardian, 07.04.18: The spirit of 1968 rises again: can French students and workers triumph? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/07/the-spirit-of-1968-rises-again-can-french-students-and-workers-triumph
Times Higher Education, 29.03.18: French campuses on edge after Montpellier attack https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/french-campuses-edge-after-montpellier-attack#survey-answer
Euronews, 30.03.18: Student protests grow in France as teachers investigated for attack on strikers http://www.euronews.com/2018/03/30/student-protests-grow-in-france-as-teachers-investigated-for-masked-attack-on-strikers
The Local.fr, 22.03.18: French rail strikes: The 37 days to avoid train travel in France this spring https://www.thelocal.fr/20180322/french-rail-strikes-here-are-the-37-days-to-avoid-travelling-by-train
The Local.fr, 22.03.18: French strikes: France hit by major travel disruption https://www.thelocal.fr/20180322/french-strikes-latest-france-hit-by-major-travel-disruption
The Local.fr, 22.03.18: 'Stop Macron': How the French feel about the latest crippling strikes https://www.thelocal.fr/20180322/stop-macron-how-the-french-feel-about-thursdays-crippling-strikes
The Local.fr, 22.03.18: 'People must understand': French unions explain why the travel chaos is justified https://www.thelocal.fr/20180322/its-a-last-resort-french-strikers-explain-why-they-have-to-cause-travel-chaos-in-france
France24, 22.03.18: French civil servants and rail workers strike in test for Macron http://www.france24.com/en/20180322-france-braced-first-day-rolling-strikes-test-macron-rail-workers
Reuters, 21.03.18: French rail strike turning into major challenge for Macron https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-sncf/french-rail-strike-turning-into-major-challenge-for-macron-idUKKBN1GX0UO
Euronews, 21.03.18: France's rolling railway strikes: The 'cheminot' status explained http://www.euronews.com/2018/03/21/france-s-rolling-railway-strikes-the-cheminot-status-explained
France24, 14.05.18: French trains set for ‘major disruptions’ Monday due to strikes http://www.france24.com/en/20180513-french-train-traffic-set-major-disruptions-monday-strikes-sncf-reform-unions
Reuters, 17.04.18: French parliament approves rail reform on eve of new strike https://www.reuters.com/article/france-reform-sncf/french-parliament-approves-rail-reform-on-eve-of-new-strike-idUSL8N1RU413
LSE European Institute: EuroppBlog, 31.05.18: Macri and Macron: Why the Argentine and French presidents share more than their surnames http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2018/05/31/macri-and-macron-why-the-argentine-and-french-presidents-share-more-than-their-surnames/
France24, 19.04.18: Macron faces spreading anger of students, railworkers as protests continue http://www.france24.com/en/20180418-france-macron-faces-spreading-anger-students-sncf-railworkers-protests-continue-strikes
France24, 23.05.18: French rail workers vote overwhelmingly against government reforms http://www.france24.com/en/20180523-france-sncf-rail-workers-vote-overwhelmingly-against-government-reforms
France24, 25.05.18: French govt seeks end to rail strike with €35 bn debt pledge http://www.france24.com/en/20180525-french-govt-seeks-end-rail-strike-with-35-bn-euro-debt-pledge
The Local.fr, 14.05.18: Does the French government really intend to privatize the railways? https://www.thelocal.fr/20180514/is-france-really-going-to-privatize-its-railways
The Local.fr, 03.04.18: 'Black Tuesday': French rail workers begin three months of rolling strikes https://www.thelocal.fr/20180403/black-tuesday-three-months-of-rolling-rail-strikes-begin-in-france
The Local.fr, 02.04.18: Air France unions announce new two-day strike https://www.thelocal.fr/20180402/air-france-unions-announce-new-two-day-strike
Open Europe: Blog, 03.04.18: Macron faces his biggest reform test https://openeurope.org.uk/today/blog/macron-faces-his-biggest-reform-test/

Subject Categories ,
Countries / Regions