I was expecting to hate Sarko and his policies when he was voted in, but in fact the more "blunders" he makes the more I find myself agreeing with him.
This time, he's being attacked by the French unions for... telling the truth!
He says that strikes have no effect in France, which is exactly what I've felt and found myself saying since I moved here.
I remember strikes in the UK during the seventies... where the whole country shut down for days at a time.
I remember strikes and protests in the Netherlands, which were rare and consequently important occurences.
Then I come to France - and I swear there is a strike or protest here in Toulouse at least once a month!
What the heck is the point of that?!?
Only two weeks ago, I cycled through the middle of Blagnac on my way to work and found the road in chaos and police blocking the street. Everyone looked resigned and annoyed rather than curious or worried - probably not an accident then. Sure enough, a moment later about fifty teenagers (schoolkids, I think) came round the corner chanting. Everyone ignores them as they turn up the radio, call work to say they're late or turn round to find an alternative route.
A couple of weeks before that the union at my company called for (yet another) strike (none of my colleagues took part, as far as I know), a few weeks before that there was something else blocking public transport for a day, before that were the taxi drivers, before that were the public services, before that were the students, etc. etc. etc.
I'm genuinely surprised that any organisations take the slightest bit of notice of their employees striking, since it seems to happen at the slightest disagreement - rather than indicating a time when ALL employees have a genuine feeling of "things are *really* intolerable" - which is the only time a strike should take place, in my opinion. Oddly though, it seems to be part of standard negotiating here.
And the thing that pisses me off about it is the way the strikers seem to take great pleasure in causing hardship to innocent people who have absolutely nothing to do with their cause... businessmen stuck in airports by striking air traffic control, holidaymakers from the rest of Europe trapped for hours on the roads by farmers, fisherman preventing ferries from reaching their ports, etc.
Notice a trend here? Yes: ruining foreigners' holidays is a great way to make friends and dispel France's image of being lazy and selfish. Not.
Compare that to the recent bus-drivers strike in the Netherlands... where public transport ran as usual - but the drivers just didn't charge the passengers! Hits the company hard, good PR for the drivers' cause. *THAT'S* how to hold a strike!http://www.expatica.com/fr/articles/news/Sarkozy_s-_little-effect_-strike-comments-upset-unions.html