Sarkozy’s “little effect” strike comments upset unions
President Nicolas Sarkozy’s comments that striking in France now has little effect have incurred the rage of several French unions.7 July 2008
PARIS - Several unions in France lashed out on Sunday at comments made the previous day by President Nicolas Sarkozy that striking in the country now has little effect, and said he is "playing with fire”.
Sarkozy said during a national meeting of his ruling UMP party on Saturday that "France is changing much faster and much more deeply than we believe" and that "now, when there is a strike, no one notices".
Unions suggested Sarkozy's remarks could encourage strikers to up the ante and take more aggressive action in future so as to get the public's attention.
"The president of the Republic is playing with fire because if now, to make collective demands heard, the participants must use actions that bother others, we risk entering into a dangerous spiral for our country," an official from the powerful CGT union, Maryse Dumas, told AFP.
Sarkozy's comments show "contempt for employees working in the public service and trying to cause the least amount of inconvenience for people", she said.
Meanwhile the secretary general of the Force Ouvriere trade union, Jean-Claude Mailly, commented that the president had said "one word too many" and should be more careful in light of the "real discontentment of workers" on several subjects.
Shortly after taking office just over a year ago, Sarkozy ushered in a law requiring minimum service of public transport during its strikes.
[AFP / Expatica]