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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

French strikes: Your views

Paris metro employees help to close the doors of a metro on 29 January 2009
Commuters faced delays and disruption as the one-day strike began

There have been disruptions in rail and air services in France, as hundreds of thousands of workers join a one-day strike over the economic crisis.

But despite public support, the strike appears to be falling short of the paralysis promised by unions.

People in France have been sending their views on the impact of the strike action on the day and whether it can achieve its goal in the long term.


I will join in the demonstrations today. I have taken a day's unpaid leave to express my anger. Promises made to the working people about the success of the Euro, globalisation and benign capitalism have been broken by those in power. If the Brits had guts they would join us in general strike rather than contribute to their own problems by grovelling before their unelected and discredited prime minister.
Paul Henri Cadier, Viens, France

Whilst most suburban train services seem to have been hit hard, transport within the city itself is not so badly affected. It is true that many people have stayed home for fear that they wouldn't be able to travel - but the metro and bus services seem to be running almost as normal. In terms of travel within Paris, this is nowhere near as bad as the strike in November 2007. That time it was almost impossible to get anywhere - perhaps it will build up, but it might be because at a time of such uncertainty not everyone feels it right to go on strike.
Dominic Fean, Paris, France

Striking is France's answer to everything. It's the national sport, a selfish and narrow-minded way of dealing with just about any disagreement. There is nothing constructive about it and the result is that each time they destroy a little more rather than build and grow. I, like many other people in the private sector, am too often obstructed by strikes. We have subway disruptions regularly, almost every day, but nobody talks about that. Strikers only contribute to the decline of the economy.
Brigitte Cavanagh, Paris, France

I live in a western suburb of Paris. I decided not to try to use the train today as there are forecasts of train disruptions. I drove in this morning and the traffic was much better than usual. Many of my colleagues have taken the day off, I don't think they'll be in the streets campaigning with the unions. My children have gone to school as usual, although my youngest will have to share his class with other pupils whose teachers have not gone to work. As I work in the private sector it irritates me that I will have to work longer and continue to pay taxes to support the public sector workers who have incredibly good working conditions here. It seems that a majority of people voted Sarkozy in and a militant, grumpy minority is striking in order to prevent Sarkozy from making any changes.
Amanda Collins, Le Pecq France

I was actually amazed when I was heading work today that there wasn't a big disruption caused by the strike. People were still going to work as normal and buses were still running. I think the unions have barked too loud and their bite is too weak. If they really wanted to get France to a halt and hit the government hard, this strike isn't the answer.
Carl, Versailles, France

I think that the strike, if well organised, will make its point. It is not only one voice but thousands of voices joined together to express general discontent. Let us not forget that the voice of the people should count in a democratic society.
Nicole, Paris-France

I'm in the office today although a lot of my colleagues have taken the day off. Not because they wanted to but because they were worried there would be no transport. Asking around yesterday, nobody had a clue what the strike was for!!
Barry Hunt, Paris, France

I am a student, and in a way I'm glad there is a strike. Teachers from our faculty had already had a meeting, along with students, and this has been discussed ever since autumn. It was time for a bigger type of action. I also happen to be taking a plane today, so I'm a bit worried about delays. And I have to find a way to get to the airport avoiding all the disturbances in traffic. So I can understand both points of view.
Cristina, Paris, France

I work in the private sector and we are not striking (we are too scared of losing our jobs, I guess). The Grenoble area is gearing up for trouble, though. Apart from the parades and chanting by the usual militants, working parents have been encouraged to boycott the "service minimum" childcare that local councils have to provide in schools during industrial action. Instead, the call is to take the children to the protests (and thus indoctrinate them early into a life of protest). As a result, my poor five-year-old is one of only three kids at school today, so it seems that this boycott is being respected. Despite what Sarkozy claimed about strikes having no effect anymore, France is still ready to take to the streets, and it seems this action has wide public support. That said, there were still plenty of buses on the road when I came to work this morning.
Veronica, Grenoble, France

Demonstrating is a way to proving President Sarkozy wrong. He recently said that when there is a demonstration in France, no one knows. Therefore we will have a global and united demonstration today, maybe a bit anti-Sarkozy, but surely noisy! Moreover, European elections will be held in the next months. Parties and trade unions will use today's demonstration to make their points.
Curver, Paris, France

I am an English language assistant, working in three secondary schools in Rodez, Southern France. Having arrived at the school this morning, I was informed that the pupils were on strike. I went to the registration office to ask where my colleagues were, and found out they were also on strike. I find it fascinating that a class of 15 year-olds can take industrial action en masse. I suspect there is also, at the back of their minds, the prospect of a long weekend if they can drag this out, making it all the more worthwhile!
Simon Ritchie, Rodez, France

Although many people find it annoying, the French still do strike, quite regularly. Last year we were hit particularly badly in the school system by a week-long strike. This kind of transport strike is quite normal, it usually happens once a year. The government never seems to be able to cope with it, and Sarkozy's claims to the contrary are ludicrous.
L Barton, Saumur, France



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