Civil servants, air traffic controlls, and civil servants all went on strike Tuesday in a perfect storm of manifestations.
A number of France’s 5.6 million civil servants went on strike over what the Confédération Générale du Travail said were 150,000 jobs that had been done away with since 2007 and an 8-10% drop in their pay. CGT was one of three unions calling for civil servants to strike.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) January 26, 2016
Air traffic controllers caused a reported one in five flights to be canceled in anticipation of their strike today, which is over a loss of 1,000 jobs over the last decade while air traffic has been increasing, exacerbating the pressure involved in the job.
Strikes by taxi drivers led to the crippling of the boulevard Périphérique in Paris and affected cities throughout France.
At issue to the seemingly unchecked growth in the popularity of Uber and other VTC (Voiture de Tourisme avec Chaffeur) services that are not required the play by the same rule as cab drivers.
“This is a Europe-wide, and even global problem,” a London cab driver named Kamel Abdellaoi told France 24. “Anyone can become a Uber driver. There are no criminal record checks, there is no requirement for a minimum of local knowledge, many of these people are not paying taxes, and the number of them is increasing all the time.”
Tire fires were set, strategic parts of roadways were blockaded, and at least one VTC drive was attacked during the manifestations. Prime Minister Manuel Valls told representatives from tax unions that more concerned efforts would be made to put strictures on Uber and VTC drivers, including taking away their ability to be hailed on the street and requiring them to return to “home base” between booked fares.
One wonders what France’s taxi drivers will ask for when driverless cars become prevalent.