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Labor Unions Running Riot in France

John on April 23, 2009 at 9:16 am

In France, the electric and gas workers are on strike. This piece in today’s London Times makes a strong case for not letting labor unions run your country:

It was the second time in a week that blackouts had hit the Paris region as striking gas and electricity workers adopted radical tactics to support their call for a 10 per cent pay rise and an end to outsourcing of jobs.

They are denounced as industrial saboteurs by the Government and face disciplinary action and prosecution, but say they are determined to press ahead with what they portray as a struggle against free-market forces.

After failing to prevent the partial privatisations of EdF and GdF, the gas supplier, they believe that the tide has turned in their favour because of the recession.

Redundancy plans have caused violent protests in private sector companies, left-wing students have blocked universities and unions are planning a demonstration on Labour Day. “There is a risk of revolution,” Dominique de Villepin, the former prime minister, said.

For Stéphane Miliadis, a representative of the Confédération Générale du Travail union at the EdF plant in Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône, near Montigny-lès-Cormeilles, it offers a golden opportunity.

“The Government is losing control,” he said. “So now is the moment to push back the capitalist logic which has crept into the company.”

The movement got off to a slow start. “We’ve been on strike for three weeks but at first no one paid any attention at all,” he said. “It was only when some of the guys started cutting the electricity and gas that things got moving.”

There’s also this bullet point at the end of the article, call it the future of collective bargaining:

“Bossnapping” has become a popular technique in French labour disputes. Striking workers take their bosses hostage until they agree to demands

This is one of the countries Barack Obama thinks we should emulate?

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Category: Foreign Affairs |

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