Philippe Martinezthe general secretary of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), which leads the day of strikes and demonstrations in France this Tuesday, wants a increase of 300 euros (295 dollars) of the minimum salary, up to 2,000 euros (about 1,969 dollars) gross.
“The minimum wage has not increased enough”stressed Martínez in an interview with the radio station RTL at the beginning of this day of protests in which the CGT, supported by three other smaller unions, anticipates nearly 150 demonstrations throughout the country, the main one in Paris from 2:00 p.m. local (12:00 GMT).
Beyond the minimum wage, which in France is revalued based on past inflation with an automatic mechanism and that the last time it rose was in August to 1,678.95 euros gross per month (1,329.05 euros net), what they claim the strikers is that “there is an increase at all levels” of wageshe indicated.
Martínez reproached the Government of Emmanuel Macron for its attitude against that demand, which could have materialized, in his opinion, with a automatic wage revaluation mechanism in a law in favor of purchasing power which was adopted in July.
He insisted that in July they already raised it and that they have been warning “for a long time” of their demands to the Government, which has turned a deaf ear. He justified the recourse to the strike because in his opinion in France it is the only way for things to change.
Second intersectoral strike in less than a month
This Tuesday’s is second “intersectoral” strike since the end of the boreal summer to demand salary increases that compensate for inflation (5.6% in France year-on-year in September) but is not backed by the country’s leading trade union, the French Democratic Confederation of Workers (CFDT).
In addition, since the first (September 29), a good part of the refineries and many fuel depots in the countrywhich has caused serious supply problems at gas stations.
According to the latest government update, 28.1% of gas stations in the country lacked at least one type of fuel on Monday. The situation has hardly improved in recent days, despite the promises of the Executive and Macron himself, who on the 12th predicted a return to normality this week.
Faced with this situation, the authorities have repeatedly resorted to forced mobilization of workers from fuel depotsand the spokesman for the Executive, Olivier Veranwarned this Tuesday that it will continue to be done “as much as necessary” and “probably” today.
Beyond the problem of the oil sector, this Tuesday’s strike affects public transport, among other sectors. On the railways, the most affected are the regional trainssince only half circulate, according to the company’s forecasts SNCF.
There are also problems on some commuter lines in Paris, as well as on buses in the capital, since a third of the usual ones have been suppressed. The subway, for its part, works almost normally.
Threat of new strikes
As happened with the refineries after September 29, the main concern for Macron and his government is that new strikes will be chained in the coming days, as some union federations have advanced.
Particularly at SNCF, as they know they have a window of opportunity to lobby as the autumn school holidays start next Saturday.
(With information from EFE)
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