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Old October 7th, 2010, 05:42 PM
Hlitner Hlitner is offline
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Exclamation Oct 12 Strike will cripple France

Just got finished reading an article in the Financial Times about a huge national strike scheduled for next Tuesday (Oct 12). The latest is that many labor unions are now calling this an open-ended strike which means it could go on for many days and will affect everything from transportation to electric power. This is a nasty situation as the French workers do not want to have their retirement age increased from 60 to 62. Many in France have long considered work to be a 4 letter word and enjoy their short work weeks and long holidays. This will not be a good thing for any cruiser who will be in France next week (and possibly the following week).

Hank
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Old October 8th, 2010, 11:04 AM
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Hank,

Thanks for posting the 'heads-up' on this.

Those traveling to France might also find this Tripadvisor info helpful, & would also suggest keeping an eye on the TA forum (in particular within 48 hours of when you'll be there) to see how you might be affected. The local 'destination experts' on Tripadvisor usually post up to date info on these situations.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 11:40 AM
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There is also an on-going strike at the port of Marseilles, affecting t ankers and the oil industry. I wonder if that affects cruise ships as well.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hlitner View Post
Just got finished reading an article in the Financial Times about a huge national strike scheduled for next Tuesday (Oct 12). The latest is that many labor unions are now calling this an open-ended strike which means it could go on for many days and will affect everything from transportation to electric power. This is a nasty situation as the French workers do not want to have their retirement age increased from 60 to 62. Many in France have long considered work to be a 4 letter word and enjoy their short work weeks and long holidays. This will not be a good thing for any cruiser who will be in France next week (and possibly the following week).

Hank
I was in Paris a few years ago when the they had the week long transportation strike...no bus,metro etc. and a few other unions joined in as well...I was there the whole week plus and I learned to walk a a whole lot,and get used to fewer services fro sure,but it never seemed to affect the french people until they end when most of them could not get to work and realized they were not going to get paid...then they rallied against the unions.It was interesting to say the least.I don't think I would like to be there on a cruise with just a limited amount of time,and let me say if you are going to be there not only have a Plan B,but a C and D as well.I was only in Paris (altho I id manage to take the Chunnel to London one day as they were not on strike)but this national strike can affect so much.Hank, I am sure travlers will be pleased that you gave them this heads-up.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 07:58 PM
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I should have mentioned that anyone who will be in France (anywhere in France) next week should carefully monitor various news and internet sites for the latest news as this strike is still a work in progress. Nobody is quite sure what will happen at this point...but if it does happen (very likely) it will be UGLY.

Hank
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Old October 8th, 2010, 08:36 PM
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I have read, and heard, in several places that the issue is raising the retirement age from 65 to 67, not what the OP posted.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Wendy The Wanderer View Post
I have read, and heard, in several places that the issue is raising the retirement age from 65 to 67, not what the OP posted.
see http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/16/wo.../16france.html

The age in France is 60. This is as huge as if the US voted for a 65 to 67. Maybe bigger given the French predisposition for the greve or strike.

Last edited by moyaroo; October 8th, 2010 at 11:30 PM.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Wendy The Wanderer View Post
I have read, and heard, in several places that the issue is raising the retirement age from 65 to 67, not what the OP posted.
Wendy wendy wendy, this is France we are talking about It is 60 to 62 and I suspect the French would want to only work 20 hour work weeks.

Hank
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Old October 9th, 2010, 10:50 AM
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I've lived and worked in France for 20 years now so I think I have earned the right to an opinion here. What really hacks me off about these strikes is that only a tiny proportion of the french working population are union members ( I think it's only about 5%) yet they can hold the entire country to ransom. Most French people are quite phlegmatic about strikes and will in most cases try to make alternative arrangements. It is unlikely to get ,as one poster said, UGLY.

The age is 60 to 62. Some industries retire at 55 with unbelievable benefits. I think deep down everyone knows this has to change - we are all living longer and these pensions have to be funded somehow. What is upsetting people is the cavalier way this has been presented to them . Our dear President has turned into a Napoleon!
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Old October 9th, 2010, 11:49 AM
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I've lived and worked in France for 20 years now so I think I have earned the right to an opinion here. What really hacks me off about these strikes is that only a tiny proportion of the french working population are union members ( I think it's only about 5%) yet they can hold the entire country to ransom. Most French people are quite phlegmatic about strikes and will in most cases try to make alternative arrangements. It is unlikely to get ,as one poster said, UGLY.

The age is 60 to 62. Some industries retire at 55 with unbelievable benefits. I think deep down everyone knows this has to change - we are all living longer and these pensions have to be funded somehow. What is upsetting people is the cavalier way this has been presented to them . Our dear President has turned into a Napoleon!
The UGLY comment was in relation to the disruption of services not any idea of fighting on the streets a la the May of 68 incident when France decided to emulate the US with student riots in the street.

As you note the French have a very good attitude about strikes in that no one gets particularly upset and goes about normally as much as possible and when not able, creates a work around. I was in France at the end of the big gasoline strike a few years ago and was amazed at how well people were coping with no petrol.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 12:35 PM
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It is correct that my UGLY comment had nothing to do with riots, fights, etc which is not normally a problem in France. In reality, if there ever was a real riot in France the French government would likely surrender! My comment meant to emphasize that the entire country of France can be held hostage to a few strikers who can quickly shut down all the public transportation and even, at times, close highways (the farmers have been known to block roads). For cruise passengers a major strike can cause very real problems such as not being able to get back to a port due to heavy traffic (caused when public transit is on strike) or a blockade of a road. There are some folks who will tell you that the French view the word "work" as a 4 letter word and the fear of having to work 2 more years, or even 1 more hour a week does generate some hostility among part of the population. We happen to love France and the culture despite the French

Hank
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Old October 11th, 2010, 09:44 AM
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Wendy wendy wendy, this is France we are talking about It is 60 to 62 and I suspect the French would want to only work 20 hour work weeks.

Hank
Here's the crux of the confusion: "... But Mr Sarkozy has insisted he will not back down on raising the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62, and the age at which full benefits are paid from 65 to 67."
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Old October 11th, 2010, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Hlitner View Post
It is correct that my UGLY comment had nothing to do with riots, fights, etc which is not normally a problem in France. In reality, if there ever was a real riot in France the French government would likely surrender! My comment meant to emphasize that the entire country of France can be held hostage to a few strikers who can quickly shut down all the public transportation and even, at times, close highways (the farmers have been known to block roads). For cruise passengers a major strike can cause very real problems such as not being able to get back to a port due to heavy traffic (caused when public transit is on strike) or a blockade of a road. There are some folks who will tell you that the French view the word "work" as a 4 letter word and the fear of having to work 2 more years, or even 1 more hour a week does generate some hostility among part of the population. We happen to love France and the culture despite the French

Hank

Sorry Hank - Misunderstood you there! You are right, despite the everdeepening hole in the pension funds the French will resist and take to the streets to avoid any changes , because as you said, work IS a four letter word to most, an inconvenience between weekends. What annoys me is the police's attitude to these demos. They just stand around and watch as farmers burn tyres on the highways, tractors and lorries form snail convoys and growers dump containers of rotten fruits and milk in town centres. They say if asked, they are there to prevent fights breaking out, and that is all! So that's OK then ! As someone once said ,France is a lovely country only spoiled by the presence of all the French!
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Old October 11th, 2010, 08:01 PM
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I would like to ask everyone if they have ever lived in France or they are just repeating rhetoric to make us feel better about ourselves. I did live with a French family. Two school teachers who worked very hard. And by the way, my father-in-law and my father both retired in the US with great pensions at the age of 55 (one a police officer and one a US government worker). Stick to the way the strike will adversely affect travel please. Sorry, but I am really tired of all the anti-French rhetoric. There could be just as much anti-American rhetoric although, personally, I hope not. At least they actually care enough about the issues as opposed to American Idol or Dancing with the Stars oh or the college football poll.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 09:19 PM
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Hear hear, this is not the place to take potshots at anybody, especially those living in glass houses. So let's just all give the politics a rest.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 12:07 AM
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Agreed the bashing is not always helpful, but part of the charm of France is the French attitude. I like that they can take things in stride. my first time to France was an absolute disaster, except everyone was dealing with the insanity. Air Contoller strike so I tained to marseille only to have a train strike on local trains, so I had to drive to Aix. All went well. Love France find the French totally amazing, but agree that they are deadly to those with Type A personalities.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 03:04 PM
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From the AP newswire at 1:15 pm today, they have this headline: "French strikes disrupt life, shut Eiffel Tower" with these highlights: "A nationwide strike by major French unions canceled flights and trains and shut the Eiffel Tower Tuesday, disrupting daily life for many and putting new pressure on the government to drop a plan to raise the retirement age by two years. Unionized train and Paris public transport workers vowed to stay off the job for at least another day, and police said at least 1.2 million people marched in protests against the plan, the largest turnout in four nationwide demonstrations over the last five weeks."

From the New York Times, they have this headline: "French Strikes Disrupt Travel" with these highlights: "Unions in some sectors — including transport, ports and power — have toughened their stance, threatening to prolong the strikes. They have given local chapters the authority to decide on a daily basis whether to renew the action. Unions have also called another day of demonstrations on Saturday. Airports were predicting significant disruption to flights as air traffic controllers and Air France staff joined the walkout. At Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Beauvais airports, 30 percent of flights were expected to be canceled, and about 50 percent at Orly. Long-haul flights were expected to be maintained, however."

The full stories have many more details and are at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...ocId=D9IQ9BPG0
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/wo...france.html?hp

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


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Old October 13th, 2010, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hlitner View Post
Just got finished reading an article in the Financial Times about a huge national strike scheduled for next Tuesday (Oct 12). The latest is that many labor unions are now calling this an open-ended strike which means it could go on for many days and will affect everything from transportation to electric power. This is a nasty situation as the French workers do not want to have their retirement age increased from 60 to 62. Many in France have long considered work to be a 4 letter word and enjoy their short work weeks and long holidays. This will not be a good thing for any cruiser who will be in France next week (and possibly the following week).

Hank
We will be in Monte Carlo on Tuesday, October 19 and were planning to take the bus to Eze. Will this strike impact these buses?

Thanks
Lorraine
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Old October 14th, 2010, 04:11 PM
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We will be in Monte Carlo on Tuesday, October 19 and were planning to take the bus to Eze. Will this strike impact these buses?

Thanks
Lorraine
Sadly, judging from the way things are going at the moment, it very well might, that is, if the students don't do for it!

By the way ddpe, I've lived here for over 30 years, so I feel quite well-placed to have an opinion.
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Old October 16th, 2010, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catllar View Post
Sadly, judging from the way things are going at the moment, it very well might, that is, if the students don't do for it! By the way ddpe, I've lived here for over 30 years, so I feel quite well-placed to have an opinion.
THANKS for your "on the scene" comments and updates! In reading the most current stories, it seems pretty ugly on this situation.

From the Bloomberg News/Business Week early this morning, they have this headline: "French Refineries Shut for Fifth Day Amid Protests on Pension-Age Increase" with these highlights: "France’s 12 oil refineries remained shut as unions planned a fifth day of protests to try to force President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government to drop its plans to raise the retirement age. About 230 demonstrations are planned across France today, with the main Paris march starting at 2:30 p.m. local time. Government leaders have repeatedly said they won’t back down on raising the minimum retirement age to 62 from 60, saying it’s necessary to cut losses at the state retirement system. Unions have called for another day of protests on Oct. 19, this one accompanied by the fourth national strike since September."

From Sky News within the last hour, they have this headline: "Millions To March In France As Strikes Bite" with these highlights: "Millions are expected to march in support of strikes in France that have hit rail and air transport and left rubbish piling up in city streets. Reports said main Parisian airport Roissy-Charles de Gaulle might run out of fuel, but France's ecology ministry said stocks will last until at least Tuesday. Striking refuse workers have also left piles of uncollected rubbish around the southern French port city of Marseille for the fourth consecutive day."

Full stories at:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-1...-increase.html
http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Wor..._Protests_Loom

Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


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