En grève. On strike!

 

'One strike may conceal another!'
‘One strike may conceal another’

Note to readers: The management would like to apologize for any inconvenience as the regularly scheduled post cannot be shown this week due to a labour dispute.

This would not be a blog about life in France without a little strike action. The right to strike – faire grève – is deeply engrained in the French culture, and it is one that is regularly exercised.

As the French national rail company, SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français), or, as I’ve heard it popularly referred to: Société Nationale des Connards et de Fainéants – national company of jerks and lazy asses – now enters its second week of strike, I feel inspired to join them.

There is a certain time pressure. The period between the month of long weekends in May and the official start of the summer holiday period in July is all too short. This is prime-time strike season: a window of opportunity to make your point before heading out for some well-earned vacation.

So, I am officially on strike this week in protest against the poor pay and work conditions offered by WordPress. Since starting this blog over a year ago I have received zero remuneration and no time off. Don’t even ask about medical and retirement benefits! Sure, I’ve enjoyed it, gained a great many readers and met fellow bloggers whose work I also enjoy. On a personal level, I have learned a lot, enriched my writing and had a lot of fun. But fun is not the point.

The point is that if I don’t strike now and send a very strong message to the management, who knows where it will all end? WordPress might be taken over by foreign owners who could impose an even more draconian regime. Who can say? They may very well outsource my (unpaid) job to India.

No, I’m not a member of any union. Didn’t you know that the French are among the least unionized workers in the world? But I will defend to the death my right to strike. Negotiations you ask? Maybe. All in due time. Strike first, negotiate later, that’s the French way!

So when you come back next week (you will return of course?), I hope to be able to once again offer normal service. But I’m not making any promises.

Vive la France!

6 thoughts on “En grève. On strike!

  1. Chere Madame, I regret to inform you that as of the day you return to work, your services are no longer required.
    We have secured the services of someone who will work for even less pay than you
    ( i.e. They’ll pay us) and who requires even less time off since they’re willing to blog twice a day 365 days a year.
    Please prepare your readers for the change over and instruct them that they’ll have to take a course in Urdu in order to continue to be allowed to read this blog.
    Wishing you a long and Happy Retirement
    Wordpress.

  2. Too funny…Great article on the strike mentality in France…I was also surprised that they are among the lowest rate of unionisation when we did some research for a post we wrote last week…(Suzanne)

    1. Yes, it is surprising, given the frequency and intensity of the strikes! But the unions still seem to be quite powerful as they are part of the management structure in every major company. Glad you enjoyed!

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