French workers carry out massive general strike on 10 November 2022

 

Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent

 

Lakhs of French transport and public sector workers struck work on 10 November 2022 to demand improved pay and working conditions, denounce the increased cost of living, and demand relief from the government from soaring prices.

Over 150 demonstrations were carried out all over France by workers affiliated to the Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT) labour union.

The strike paralyzed the public transport network in Paris where workers of the Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) participated in the strike with the slogan “Zero metro, zero RER”.

“Given the inflation we need higher salaries. We’ve asked for it. We’re not being heard by the government nor by our companies or employers,” a transport worker said in Paris.

“We all feel personally affected,” a university student supporting the strike said, “Families are having a hard time buying a carton of eggs, or bread or even meat. That’s not possible in France,” one of the world’s richest economies, he added.

According to the official data, French consumer prices in October rose at their fastest pace since 1985, driven by rising energy, food and manufactured goods prices.

Food prices in particular grew almost 12% in a blow to the least paid workers who spend a larger share of their monthly budget on food and other necessities.

This was the third strike of the unions in a row, after two other nationwide protests on Oct. 18 and Oct. 27. Over 300,000 workers participated in the strike on 18 October. The strike grievances and demands included an increase in the minimum wage, re-evaluation of all salaries in line with inflation, and re-evaluation of the salary scale for public sector workers.

Workers are also angry at the government’s use of emergency strike-breaking powers during the earlier strikes at oil refineries in October 2022.

 

 

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