We prefer to lose a few christmases that our pensions

After almost a month on strike against the reform of the pensionesimpulsada by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the accounts of those who are supporting s

We prefer to lose a few christmases that our pensions

After almost a month on strike against the reform of the pensionesimpulsada by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the accounts of those who are supporting start despite. The stoppages in a row since December 5, already have cost one of them, Patrick Sivadier, a driver of a commuter line from Paris, almost 2,000 euros, almost a month's salary. A loss that there are to be multiplied by two because his wife, Patricia, station agent of the same company of public transport in paris, also supported the protest. "Weeks ago, we started to hoard rice and pasta, just in case," he says. The celebrations of Christmas have been more sober this year and the month of January promises to be more difficult than ever. But despite the economic cost, the Sivadier continue to go to every demonstration that convened the trade unions —along with their son, Loic, a college of 20 years that it has skipped several classes to go to protests with their parents— and are willing to keep the pulse with the Government the time needed.

“we Prefer to sacrifice a salary to our pensions and those of our children and of the children of all the French”, corroborates Karim, a driver of a tram in Paris, 34-year-old who prefers not to give his last name and that is also on strike since the first day that they stopped the services, metropolitan transport and public service workers national railways (SNCF). Your salary is the only one who enters in a home with two small children, but he claims that his family supports him, but this christmas also have been more difficult for all. “A santa Claus lost is not serious. We prefer to lose some christmas pensions”, hammers.

on Friday, the day on which the strike overcame the protest of reference until now, 22 days in 1995 forced the Government of then-prime minister, Alain Juppé, to withdraw its pension reform, Philippe Martinez, a leader of one of the unions more militant in this mobilization, the CGT, called no surrender. “The time is now or ever will be”, he warned before a picket line on the outskirts of Paris.

The driver Patrick Sivadier coincides with the trade unionist: “If we surrender now, there is nothing after, so we're going to put everything we can”. The strike, he argues, goes far beyond the fight against a pension reform that seeks to replace the 42 different regimes present in France for a system that is “universal” for points. “We have to decide what kind of society we want. We are facing a turning point. Or we continue to have a society of solidarity, or we go to a society that is purely individualistic where each one should take care of itself”, he argues.

Patrick Planque, laborer, maintenance of the SNCF in Trappes, outside of Paris, believes that this strike is also a matter of “pride”. “After years of telling us that the government and employers ' organisations are stronger, this motion to strike shows that the workers are able to return to raise your head and say no, we do not agree. And that is the most important of the strike, we have recovered the pride. We are proud to make this movement, to strike and to keep it”. Planque who knows well how hard that can be a strike: he entered the SNCF after the group automobile PSA closed in 2013 one of its plants in the outskirts of Paris. The strike which held, then, with some 3,000 colleagues—“no pay at all”, he stresses— it lasted for four months.

to Keep the strike for so long is not easy. “It is much more difficult to go to work,” he says. Every day Planque go, as is —sometimes in the car, in public transport when it works— at the picket line “to discuss with colleagues who have returned to work or who are still not convinced”. Also chat with groups of citizens and “with other companies in the area.” To do this is to join the daily meeting with the colleagues on strike. “We have general meetings every day to decide among us how to continue”.

Besides all of that, is the organization of the protests and fundraising to help their colleagues. In these walks Karim, which is usually located at the front of the demonstrations with a cardboard box converted into a "piggy bank solidarity”. Encourages passers-by to help the strikers. Tend to drop quite a few coins, that is considered as a show of support citizen —a collection by the Internet already exceeds one million euros— to a protest, he insists, do to all the French. “It is not our privileges,” agrees Planque. “The privileges are to be found on the side of Macron, of the government. And Arnault, Bouygues, Lagardère, Bolloré”, quote referring to the great fortunes in france. “What are privileges today? It is not to win a thousand euros. Privilege is earning 800,000 euros a week. These are the true privileges and it is to satisfy those interests by those who today try to convince us that we are the ones that costs money to the society”, he protested.

For the moment, the thousands of railway workers and public transport that paralyzed a good part of France these weeks say they are willing to not relent until the Government completely remove your project. The next meeting between the Executive and the unions is scheduled for the 7th of January. The Sivadier, who at least were able to celebrate for once the christmas Eve all together, since usually one of the parents is of guard, also plan to spend a family new year's Eve. Yes says the father, “we will do so in a picket line”.

The Government yields to the dancers of the Paris Opera house

It's a victory, small, but symbolic. The Government has given in to a minority group but very visible to the workers on strike against his pension reform: dancers of the Paris Opera. According to Les Echos, the Executive now proposes that the new regime by points only apply to the artists recruited from 2022. The rest, you can still retire at the age of 42, a privilege that form part of the special conditions enjoyed by these dancers from the time of Louis XIV. The protest of the dancers and musicians of ballet parisian has caused the cancellation of dozens of performances, with losses of eight million euros, according to the institution. The news came on the same day that thousands of people turned out across France to demand the withdrawal of the government project, on the 24 day of demonstrations and strong disturbance of the railway traffic in the whole country and the big cities.

Updated Date: 28 December 2019, 23:00

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