After over a month of industrial action by transport workers and many other public sector workers in protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s planned assault on workers’ pension rights, there is no sign of a let-up of either the strikes and demonstrations or of the violent police response.
Such state violence has included the use at close quarters of grenades intended for battlefield use, while Eurostar tourists passing through the Gare du Nord rail station recently witnessed at close hand a teargas attack launched against demonstrators.
The militant union confederation CGT is raising the stakes, calling for a general strike and a total blockade of all oil refineries, threatening to bring the country to a halt.
Whilst the government claims such action would be illegal, it is on the streets not in the courts that the issue will be decided.
Talks between the government and the unions will probably wrangle on until 22 January, when the pensions ‘reform’ package will go before the council of ministers before it is presented to parliament.
Meanwhile, the reason this massive mobilisation, along with the yellow vest movement, goes virtually unreported in British media is the deep fear of rulers this side of the channel that British workers might be inspired to follow their counterparts’ militant example and start fighting for their own rights to work, pay, pensions and a dignified existence.