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strike movements are spreading in all sectors in France

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

In question, inflation which has reached peaks for several months. The rise in prices has, in fact, continued to climb in May, to 5.2% over one year, according to the latest figures from INSEE. It now exceeds 5% for the first time since September 1985. In April, the rise in prices reached 4.8% over one year, which was already a record since November 1985 this time. largely explained by the acceleration in 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%).

Too little wage increase

However, wages have indeed increased. On the one hand, the minimum wage, SMIC, was revalued on May 1, 2022 by 2.65%, thus following the upward trend in the consumer price index (excluding tobacco) of the most modest households, as provided by law. On the other hand, according to a study carried out by the Banque de France on the salary increases negotiated for 2022, they rose between 2.5% and 3.5% in many branches while they oscillated on average around by 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. In the catering sector too, workers obtained, after several weeks of negotiation, an average increase of the entire salary scale of 16.33% and a minimum salary of more than 5% of the minimum wage.

But on the whole, these revaluations remain below the progression of inflation to the chagrin of French employees, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. In the hope of seeing their remuneration increased, workers are therefore mobilizing in the four corners of France, in small businesses as well as within large groups and in many branches. This is particularly the case in the air sector, particularly affected by these walkouts. On June 9, staff at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport went on strike leading to the cancellation of around a hundred flights in the morning, around a quarter of the scheduled schedule, and delays ranging from 30 to 45 minutes on average for the others. And the social movement should continue. The inter-union staff of Paris airports called the next day to strengthen and expand the movement » launching a new strike from July 1 »just before the big departures on vacation.

Last week, from Monday to Friday, garbage collection was paralyzed in several districts of the capital following a strike by garbage truck drivers in the City of Paris.

Also in the capital, the trade unions of SNCF and RATP called for 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 concerned by the callas well as lines H, J, K, L and R of the Transilien.

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

Energy strongly impacted

The energy sector is not spared. On June 2, tens of thousands of homes and businesses were affected by power cuts lasting a few hours due to a strike by energy agents at 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. The discontent is growing all the more as the oil and gas major recorded record profits in the first quarter. Last January, the last agreement for wages provided for a general increase of 2.35% with a floor of 1,000 euros gross, but it has since been deemed insufficient in view of the rise in prices. Another day of mobilization is scheduled for June 28 across the sector as wage negotiations with the employers of the electricity and gas industries (IEG) are at an impasse, according to the unions.

Elsewhere than in the capital, protest movements are also increasing. On June 10, a strike involving several hundred people took place at the French semiconductor substrate manufacturer Soitec near Grenoble. The employees of the luxury leather goods manufacturer Arco in Châtellerault in Vienne went on strike for two and a half days before being promised an increase of 128 euros gross per month. Monday, June 20, two major companies specializing in aeronautics based in Figeac in the Lot were paralyzed by protest movements: an indefinite strike within Ratier and a walkout at Figeac Aéro from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

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

Similar movements in Europe

France is not an isolated case. Elsewhere in Europe, strikes are also increasing, starting with the United Kingdom, which is experiencing the biggest strike by its railway workers in thirty years. Strong disturbances will thus be felt on the rail network from this Tuesday and until Sunday. As in France, railway workers are demanding wage increases and denouncing a deterioration in their working conditions. In Belgium, all flights departing from the busiest airport in the country, Brussels-Zaventem, were canceled on Monday following a strike by security guards, against a backdrop of national mobilization of unions for wages.

As for the airline, Ryanair, it is experiencing mobilization movements in several countries where it is present, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. This did not worry its leader, Michel O’Leary, who taxed the striking unions with “Mickey”, minimizing the threats of strikes. But faced with a summer marked by a strong recovery in activity in the aviation sector, the CEO will probably have to come to the negotiating table if he does not want to see his flights disrupted all summer.