Pensions

France’s pension strikes still alive

The strike action renewed every day at SNCF (national rail) and RATP (Paris local transport) is over, but that doesn’t mean that the battle against the government’s Bill is at an end. On the contrary. Not a day passes without one sector or another making itself heard with never-before-seen actions. The strike is still alive, whether it be: • the strike of the firefighters who demonstrated on 28 January • the strike of the street cleaners and refuse workers in Ile-de-France or Marseille, who have been on strike for more than a week • the strike of the energy workers who have organised a series...

Industrial news in brief

University staff represented by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) are set to strike again in disputes over pensions, pay, equalities and casualisation with a series of walk-outs scheduled over fourteen days beginning Thursday 20 February. A further fourteen institutions are joining the sixty who struck in the autumn after reballots got them over the 50% threshold. In Scotland members of EIS (another, Scotland-only, union) have also rejected the employers’ offer, bringing the total number of mandates for action to seventy-six. Despite eight days of strike action last term the employers...

Students and the pensions movement in France

David from L'Etincelle, a grouping within the NPA (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste, New Anticapitalist Party), talked with Michael Elms from Solidarity. In 2018 there was a movement about selection. In 2019 they increased fees for students outside the EU by like 1,000%. There was a small movement concerning that: but it was at the same time as the Yellow Vests movement, and it didn’t really get going. The Yellow Vests movement had an effect among some poor students, it was very strong among students for a couple of weeks, but things didn’t go much further than that. What’s the story with...

AWL delegation visits Paris

Since early December, France has been gripped by a mass strike movement over the Macron government’s plan to reform pensions. Workers’ Liberty organised a delegation of socialists of all ages from across the UK to visit France 24-26 January to bring our solidarity to strikers, and to talk to and learn from striking workers and socialist activists about events. By the time that we arrived in France, the movement was entering a new stage. After nearly 50 days of almost-uninterrupted strike action, transport workers were scaling back their action from an all-out strike every day to a series of...

Industrial news in brief

Although the action is yet to be announced, the next round of the university and college union (UCU) dispute appears set for the second half of February. Where strike ballots exist, they are either related to action defending the USS pension scheme, or over casualisation, pay, workloads and equalities (the “four fights”), however in most universities live ballots exist for both disputes simultaneously. A further 37 branches are currently being re-balloted, which alongside the live 98, would significantly enhance the strike’s impact, which in November and December saw thousands of UCU members...

Solidarity with the strikes in France

Labour for a Socialist Europe organised a demonstration at the French Embassy in London on 8 January in solidarity with the strikes against pension cuts in France.

“No retreat, no truce!” say French strikers

As we go to press, 7 January, the French government is sitting down with the various union federations to discuss the ongoing dispute over its pension “reforms”. The government hopes that a few limited or even cosmetic concessions will be enough to peel away some unions and begin to the mass strikes and protests that have swept France since early December. It is standing firm on its central policy of changing how the level of public-sector pensions is calculated and introducing disadvantages for those who won’t retire later (64, as against 62 now). Many private sector pensions are also tied to...

Preparing a counter-offensive

The key thing the union must consider now, in light of the general election, is how we prepare against a likely onslaught against both unions in general, and our members specifically as government workers. Dominic Cummings has talked about a “radical reshaping” of the civil service. Whatever the precise detail of that reshaping will be, it’s inevitable that it will impact on our members. It’s common under new governments that some departments will merge, and new ones may form; that’s normal practice, but a restructure in the hands of a government like this, and led by someone like Cummings...

Industrial news in brief

Rail union RMT has begun re-balloting its members on South Western Railway (SWR) for further industrial action to defend the role of the guard. SWR guards concluded a month-long strike on 1 January, and are now re-balloting as the six-month mandate of their current ballot, stipulated by anti-trade union legislation, has now expired. The new ballot closes on 23 January. If it returns a majority and meets the required thresholds, SWR guards could take further action. No direct negotiations have been held between SWR and RMT since November. Elsewhere, RMT members on the Tyne and Wear Metro struck...

New university strikes from 20 February

A sectoral conference for University and College Union (UCU) members working in universities in the USS pension scheme, where workers struck in November and December, has voted for an escalation of the strike, passing a proposal to strike for two weeks from 20 February. The Higher Education Committee of the union will now ratify that proposal. That does leave a big gap between the end of the last strike and the next, but many universities have exams through January, so striking then wouldn’t have any impact on teaching. Negotiations are ongoing; the fact of a further planned strike will...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.