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OTHER ITA SITES:
The Beginning Of The End For French Union Power?
There is a long tradition in France of militancy when it comes to jobs or anything that impinges on the rights of workers. It seems to me that this is probably the first step in trying to break the power the workers unions currently enjoy in France.
Britain was in a similar situation in the 1980's with workers unions able to exert massive influence and control over the politics of the nation. Then came the now infamous 'Miners Strike' that changed the political landscape in Britain forever. Police were deployed in massive numbers against the stikers and the security services were inserted to stir up trouble on the picket lines and against the union leaders, and the full force of the Government was used to break the strike including rushed-through anti-union legislations.
Ironic then, that natural gas prices are today going through the roof when Britain abandoned 300 years worth of coal reserves closing down the entire mining industry.
However, it worked as far as the Government was concerned and the unions in Britain were all effectively neutered, their power gone, allowing massive changes to the working environment in the UK.
For some, this became a double-edged sword. Long term economic growth and stability being the primary benefit for the country as a whole but the primary downside being greater unemployment (official figures are 'massaged') and greater poverty for more people. Today, approx. one third of the UK population now require some form of state assistance to reach the minimum standard of living set down by the UK Government and European legislation, including many of those in low-paid work.
With the forthcoming French pensions crisis looming large on the horizon and the ever spiraling state spending in France on welfare, there is little option for the French Government other than to break the unions' grip on the country.
Expect to see a lot more violence and general discontent as the will of the French Goverment is pitted against the will of the country's unions.
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Travel Part B