Strike movements spread in all sectors of France

It is a wave that is sweeping France, that of the strike movements. A little everywhere in companies, employees start protest movements to demand salary increases.

In question, the inflation that has reached peaks for several months. In fact, the increase in prices has continued to rise in May, at 5.2% year-on-year, according to the latest INSEE figures. Now it exceeds 5% for the first time since September 1985. In April, the increase in prices reached 4.8% in one year, which was already a record since November 1985. In large part explained by the acceleration of energy prices (+27.8% in May after +26.5%), services (+3.2% after +3%), food (+4.3% after +3.8%) and manufactured goods (+3% after +2.6%).

Very little increase in salary

However, salaries have increased. On the one hand, the minimum wage, SMIC, was revalued on May 1, 2022 by 2.65%, thus following the upward trend of the consumer price index (without tobacco) of the most modest households, as marked the law. On the other hand, according to a study carried out by the Banque de France on negotiated salary increases for 2022, they rose between 2.5% and 3.5% in many branches while they have fluctuated on average around 1% since 2014. More or less significant increases depending on the branch, including the automotive sector, which increased wages by 4.5% in April 2022. Also in the restaurant sector, the workers obtained, after several weeks of negotiation, an increase average of the entire salary scale of 16.33% and a minimum salary of more than 5% of the minimum salary.

But overall, these revaluations remain below the rate of inflation to the chagrin of French employees, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. Hoping to see their remuneration increased, workers are mobilizing in the four corners of France, both in small companies and in large groups and in many branches. This is particularly the case in the airline sector, particularly affected by these strikes. On June 9, the staff of the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport went on strike, causing the cancellation of a hundred flights in the morning, about a quarter of the scheduled time, and delays of between 30 and 45 minutes on average for the rest. And the social movement must continue. The inter-union staff of the Paris airports called the next day to strengthen and expand the movement » launching a new strike from july 1 »just before the big vacation outings.

Last week, from Monday to Friday, garbage collection was paralyzed in several districts of the capital after a truckers’ strike in the City of Paris.

Also in the capital, the unions of The SNCF and the RATP called a strike on Friday, the day of the Top 14 rugby final between Castres and Montpellier organized at the Stade de France. Lines A, B, C and D of the RER are affected by the callas well as the lines H, J, K, L and R of the Transilien.

The Marionnaud perfumery chain was affected by a national strike. There were more than a hundred on May 24 to demonstrate in front of the headquarters of the beauty products distributor in Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Strasbourg or even Lyon. The employees gathered to demand salary increases, but also to denounce the poor working conditions.

Strongly impacted energy

The energy sector is not saved. On June 2, tens of thousands of homes and businesses were affected by power outages lasting a few hours due to a strike by the energy agents of EDF, RTE and Enedis. In addition, the CGT has called the 35,000 French employees of TotalEnergies to a 24-hour strike on June 24. Discontent grows further as major oil and gas companies posted record first-quarter profits. Last January, the last salary agreement provided for a general increase of 2.35% with a floor of 1,000 euros gross, but since then it has been considered insufficient in the face of price increases. Another day of mobilization is scheduled for June 28 across the sector, as wage negotiations with employers in the electricity and gas (IEG) industries are stalled, according to the unions.

Outside the capital, protest movements are also on the rise. On June 10, a strike involving several hundred people took place at the French semiconductor substrate manufacturer Soitec near Grenoble. Employees at the luxury leather goods maker Arco in Châtellerault in Vienne went on strike for two and a half days before they were promised a raise of €128 gross per month. On Monday June 20, two major companies specializing in aeronautics based in Figeac in the Lot were paralyzed by protest movements: an indefinite strike at Ratier and a strike at Figeac Aéro from 12 noon to 2 pm.

A week of strike at Soitec: an agreement is reached to get out of the “growth crisis”

Similar movements in Europe

France is not an isolated case. In other parts of Europe, strikes are also on the rise, starting with the UK, which is experiencing the biggest strike of its railwaymen in thirty years. Strong disturbances will be felt on the rail network from this Tuesday until Sunday. As in France, railway workers demand wage increases and denounce the deterioration of their working conditions. In Belgium, all flights leaving the country’s busiest airport, Brussels-Zaventem, were canceled on Monday following a strike by security guards, amid a national mobilization of unions over wages.

As for the airline, Ryanair, it is experiencing mobilization movements in several countries where it has a presence, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. This did not worry his manager, Michel O’Leary, who accused of “Mickey’s” striking unions, minimizing strike threats. But facing a summer marked by a strong recovery in activity in the aviation sector, the CEO will probably have to sit at the negotiating table if he does not want to see his flights disrupted all summer.