Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What the......

I went to the post office today to pick up a package and guess what?! They French postal workers are on strike. How can the national post go on strike? What are the protesting against? 35 hour work weeks? 5 week annual vacations? 11 federal paid holidays? One of the highest minimum wages in Europe? Life must be horrible for them.

Seriously, I don't understand this culture; the public transportation workers go on strike about every two months; teachers go on strike about every 5 months; students go on strike whenever there is anything to protest....how do the French ever get anything done?

I cannot imagine this happening in the U.S. because nobody would put up with things being closed due to strikes. I don't think I had ever even seen a strike until I came here. I know I am from a small town but shesh, give me a break. The French have it really good and I can't imagine what they could possibly find reason to strike about.

11 comments:

cityfarmer said...

That is hardly conceivable...guess you'll have to take up blogging... hehe

FarmgirlCyn said...

Yikes! We should be so lucky! What could they possibly have to complain about???

Samantha said...

I once asked the same question and got this answer "They know they have it good and they're striking to prevent any loss of this goodness."

It makes sense when you think about it - if they never went on strike, the companies wouldn't think twice about cutting benefits, wages, etc. With the way things are now, they can only take babysteps because they know any major changes will result in massive amounts of striking.

I'm telling you, everything in France has a reason - it may seem like insanity to us foreigners, but once you figure out WHY they do the things they do, life becomes a lot easier. I mean, a strike is a lot easier to accept if you think about it as them trying to protect their rights, not as them trying to piss you off for no reason...

Angela in Europe said...

Thanks Samantha! You are the first person who has ever answered me. Honestly, at first it annoyed me but now it just amuses me.

Samantha said...

I agree, I spent the first year of my life here being annoyed by so much stuff - it was a French civilisation class that changed everything for me. All of the sudden so many things about French culture made sense, and I was able to accept stuff (like strikes) and laugh at them instead of getting irritated.

Deb said...

Oh, the strikes! That is something I don't ever think I will truly understand....no matter how long I live in France.

My husband has been on strike a couple of times (when he worked with Carrefour). Both times the strikes were unsuccessful and the employees did not get what they wanted. The only advantage was that he had days off!

I know there are some legitimate reasons for going on strike. But as often as they do it in France, it almost seems like a national pastime.

Josie said...

Hah..! Sounds like Canadians. I remember once a small town in Canada was completely shut down when the forestry workers went on strike for a new bathroom in which to wash their hands. The strike lasted for months; businesses in the town went bankrupt.

They got their bathroom, and then they never used it.

Go figure.

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

It happened to us here in Canada a few years back. It was incredibly horrible!

tea
xo

Bee Ean Tee said...

Yes, I agreed with Samantha that everything in France has a reason, just we need to understand the background of the event. I guess the civil servants are very scared now due to the bad job market. They are working in heaven with a lot of benefits provided and of course they won't want to lose them, eventhough it's for the good of the country. These days the firefighters are having strikes in Nantes and I don't know what are they demanding. They probably should let people know more about what they are protesting.

Angela in Europe said...

I think strikes are pretty useless myself and that they hurt the economy, but the French really seem to thrive on them. All of my students participated in the strikes last year, although I think it was just to get out of class

Mimi said...

Oh, dear — and I'm about to send a package to France. Zut alors!

Very nice blog!