xi's moments
Home | Europe

Union threatens Olympic Games strikes

By EARLE GALE in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-12 09:28

A view shows the flooded banks of the River Seine and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games countdown clock covered with a tarpaulin and moved on a boat from the banks of the River Seine, near the Eiffel Tower, due to risks of flooding in Paris, France, April 5, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

The prospect of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games being ruined by strikes reared its head this week when one of France's most powerful trade unions issued formal notice it may carry out industrial action.

The General Confederation of Labor, or CGT, union said the public sector workers it represents are not willing to agree to a "truce" demanded by the government for the duration of the Olympic Games.

The union, which has more public sector workers on its books than any other union in France, has now followed the official process that paves the way for it to call strikes during a five-month period, from April 15 to Sept 15.

The Olympic Games will take place between July 26 and Aug 11, and the Paralympic Games will run from Aug 28 to Sept 8.

The union's controversial move to signal a possible strike during the global event follows a similar decision made by the Force Ouvriere union last month.

Force Ouvriere is the second-largest public sector union. Together, the two unions have the power to cause massive disruption to public services, including to transportation and healthcare.

Celine Verzeletti, the CGT union's general secretary, told BFMTV: "The advance notice covers all employees in the health sector, local authorities, and the state."

She said around 5.7 million public sector workers could walk off the job as a result.

The union is angry the government will spend more than $4 billion on hosting the Olympic Games but that workers will not see improved wages or more job security as a result.

France's unions have also taken issue with the French government's demand that public sector workers refrain from taking vacations during the Olympic Games period, and that they ensure they are available for extra work in the evenings and on weekends.

The Guardian newspaper said the CGT union has responded to the government's demands by countering that it wants "permanent recruitment, compensation for the professional constraints generated by the Games… holiday rights, the right to choose to work from home, and the right to switch off" from work.

And the Alliance union, which represents police officers, has called for a bonus of up to 2,000 euros ($2,146) to be paid to its members, to compensate for cancelled plans and additional work.

The Reuters news agency said the French government has been trying to agree as many pay deals as possible with disgruntled workers in the lead-up to the Olympics, in the hope that it can avoid embarrassing industrial action at a time when millions of people from around the world will be in the country.

Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron told L'Equipe newspaper "everything will be done to avoid any risk of industrial action".

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349