strike movements are spreading in all sectors in France

It is a wave that is sweeping over France, that of strike movements. A bit all over the companies, workers are starting protests to demand wage increases.

In question, inflation that has already peaked for several months. The price increase even increased further in May to 5.2% over a year, according to the latest figures from INSEE. It now exceeds 5% for the first time since September 1985. in May after +26.5%), services (+3.2% after +3%), food (+4.3% after +3.8%) and industrial products (+3% after +2.6%) .

Inflation disrupts government budget plans

Too little pay rise

However, wages have indeed risen. On the one hand, the minimum wage, SMIC, was upgraded by 2.65% on May 1, 2022, following the upward trend in the consumer price index (excluding tobacco) of the most modest households, as foreseen by law. On the other hand, according to a study conducted by the Banque de France on the wage increases agreed for 2022, they rose between 2.5% and 3.5% in many industries, while on average they have hovered around 1% since 2014. significant increases depending on the industry, including the automotive sector, which increased wages by 4.5% in April 2022. Also in the hospitality sector, after several weeks of negotiations, employees received an average increase in the entire salary scale of 16.33% and a minimum wage of more than 5% of the minimum wage.

But in general, these revaluations are lagging behind the rise in inflation, much to the chagrin of French workers, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. In the hope of seeing their wages rise, the workers are therefore mobilizing in the four corners of France, in small firms as well as within large groups and in many branches. This is particularly the case in the air sector, which is particularly affected by these strikes. On June 9, staff at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport went on strike, leading to the cancellation of about a hundred flights in the morning, about a quarter of the scheduled schedule, and delays averaging 30 to 45 minutes for the others. And the social movement must continue. The staff of the trade unions of the Paris airports called the following day: strengthen and expand the movement launch a new strike from July 1 just before the big departures on vacation.

Last week, from Monday to Friday, garbage collection in several districts of the capital was halted after a strike by garbage truck drivers in the city of Paris.

Also in the capital, the unions of SNCF and RATP called for a strike on Friday, the day of the Top 14 rugby final between Castres and Montpellier, hosted at the Stade de France. Lines A, B, C and D of the RER are involved in the callas well as lines H, J, K, L and R of the Transilien.

The perfumery chain Marionnaud was hit by a national strike. They were more than a hundred on May 24 to demonstrate in front of the headquarters of the distributor of beauty products in Paris, but also in Marseille, Toulouse, Strasbourg or even Lyon. Workers gathered to demand wage increases, but also to denounce poor working conditions.

Energy greatly affected

The energy sector is not spared. On June 2, tens of thousands of homes and businesses were hit by power cuts lasting several hours following a strike by energy agents at EDF, RTE and Enedis. In addition, the CGT has called on the 35,000 French employees of TotalEnergie for a 24-hour strike on June 24. The discontent is growing all the more as the oil and gas giant posted record profits in the first quarter. Last January, the last agreement on wages provided for a general increase of 2.35% with a floor of 1,000 euros gross, but this has since been deemed insufficient in view of the price increases. Another industry-wide mobilization day is scheduled for June 28, as wage negotiations with electricity and gas industry (IEG) employers are at an impasse, according to unions.

Protest movements are also increasing elsewhere than in the capital. On June 10, a strike involving several hundred people took place at the French semiconductor substrate manufacturer Soitec near Grenoble. The workers of the luxury leather goods manufacturer Arco in Châtellerault in Vienne went on strike for two and a half days before being promised an increase of 128 euros gross per month. On Monday, June 20, two major airlines based in Figeac in the Lot were paralyzed by protest movements: an indefinite strike in Ratier and a strike at Figeac Aéro from 12:00 to 14:00.

Similar movements in Europe

France is not an isolated case. Strikes are also increasing elsewhere in Europe, starting in the United Kingdom, which is experiencing the largest strike by its railway workers in 30 years. From Tuesday to Sunday, there are therefore strong disruptions on the rail network. As in France, railway workers are demanding wage increases and denouncing a deterioration in their working conditions. In Belgium, all flights departing from the country’s busiest airport, Brussels-Zaventem, were canceled on Monday after a strike by guards, amid national mobilization of labor unions for wages.

Ryanair airline is experiencing mobilization movements in several countries where it has a presence, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. This alarmed its leader, Michel O’Leary, who charged the striking unions with “Mickey”, minimizing the threat of strikes. But faced with a summer marked by a strong recovery in airline activity, the CEO will likely have to come to the negotiating table if he doesn’t want his flights disrupted all summer.