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The Strikes

Don't be surprise if you land in Paris that the pilots, the flight attendants, the ground attendants, the luggage crew, the air traffic crew, the train drivers, the train control crew, the urban train crew, the metro and/or the taxi are on strike and kind of screw your first dreamy picture of Paris : striking is part of the french constitution.

Let's dig a bit

Who are the strikers ?

No need to be part of a union. This is a right : anybody can strike. I even saw today that the Nutella factory employees are on strike. Shoking. Nevertheless this is usually the industries that have strong unions or the public sector and yes, this is the public transport industry that leads the race after years of focused and intense training giving France this great reputation.

Striking 101

There was a time that employees could just start a strike whenever they want. Not that cool right ? For the users, for the employer, for the non strikers… The system has improved and here are a few rules/key facts :

  • It takes at least 2 people. You cannot strike alone unless you are the only employee

  • You need to actually have a topic to complain about / some professionnal requests to make

  • Employees cannot be fired unless there is a serious reason like sequestring your employers, destroying equipment, violence…

  • There are different types of strikes : solidarity strikes to support strikers, overwork strike to slow down work, surprise strikes, the rolling strike…

  • Strickers are not paid so you cannot be a sick striker who would be paid… would be easy right ?

Advanced striking

Strikers in public transport have to communicate its launch 5 days before D day. As it got pretty annoying for users and employers to have to go directly to the strike level to engage discussion, a new system was invented : the social alarm. After kicking the so-called alarm on, a meeting has to be organized between the unions and the company's management within a few days. It should enable to avoid another strike… Believe it or not, some companies have got more than 900 of these alarms per year… They found more than 900 topics to complain about !

You might believe that it is weird to have to go to the social alarm or the strike level to engage discussion : it is, especially in France where once a year, companies with unions have to organize a meeting to discuss and negotiate a wide range of topics with employees : compensation, diversity, quality of life at work, hours, benefits, company's challenges…

So based on that

I really forgot about striking and here I am now working in a public transport company.

Note : don't take me wrong, I am not against striking.

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