Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

That’s what French unions are demanding with their strikes against French President Emmanuel Macron’s and French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe’s plans to streamline, standardize, and otherwise reduce the cost to French taxpayers of France’s byzantine pension system.

Never mind that the pension system consists of 42 different pension plans or that French civil servants insist that they are, somehow, special and so should have special perquisites unavailable to petty private sector workers.

Trains, subways, and buses were still severely curtailed on Friday, and hundreds of domestic and regional flights were canceled. There were no demonstrations on Friday, but unions have warned the strike could last days and become one of the biggest in France in over two decades.


Civil servants, in particular, fear they may lose advantages they have over private-sector employees.

To hell with their fellow citizens attempting to get to and from their own work, to and from their own necessary errands, to and from their own entertainments.  The unions want theirs, and no one else matters.

All the government wants to do is to

extend the number of years needed to collect a full pension and create a universal plan that would do away with the so-called special regimes enjoyed by French civil servants, including rail workers.

Currently, full retirement occurs after 43 years of work or age 62; the latter being the youngest full-retirement age in the OECD.

“Screw you,” say the unions, exemplified by Catherine Perret, Confederal Secretary of the CGT trade union:

We won’t let go[.]

This is the naked, if strictly legal, extortion of union strikes made national.  The US has Taft-Hartley, in which the government can order the end to a strike for a significant period during which serious negotiations could occur.  France, not so much; its unions are amok.

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