March 7 strike: update on blockades

Blocked schools and roads, refineries suspending fuel deliveries.

March 7 strike: update on blockades

Blocked schools and roads, refineries suspending fuel deliveries... The strike on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 caused paralysis in France as expected.

The unions of certain professions have called for a renewable strike on March 7 and the mobilization must begin this Monday evening in transport. The disturbances announced by the SNCF on the evening of Sunday March 5 confirm the extent of the strike with 1 train out of 5 for the TGV and the TER but almost no traffic on the Intercités. In the sector, the March 7 strike is here to stay and should make it possible to "block the country" and affect "corporate profits" to push the government to act according to Laurent Brun, boss of the CGT-Cheminot.

At the RATP also the strike of March 7 promises to be followed and renewed in the coming days. The circulation of Ile-de-France transport must be heavily altered and only two metro lines, 1 and 14, will run normally. So much so that the government, in particular Clément Beaune, the Minister of Transport, invited Friday "all those who have the possibility of teleworking to seize it" for March 7, according to information from Figaro.

And the Minister of Transport added: "At the SNCF, at the RATP, things will surely not stop on the evening of March 7 or the morning of March 8. I asked the CEOs of the SNCF and the RATP to have discussions".

As relayed by the specialized media Tour Mag, the unions of the ADP group called on their members to block Paris-CDG airport on Tuesday March 7, and to demonstrate in front of terminal 2E door 17. A union delegate explained to the media that they called "all employees to stop work". "For the blockage, no one will go on the slopes, but the impact will be very real. We are already sorry for the users," he added. The CGT Air France also asked employees to strike within Air France.

The refuellers, whose role is to supply the planes with fuel, are for their part called to the renewable strike from Monday evening March 6, announced the CGT, which indicates to be the first union in this sector. Pierre Dalles, CGT union representative at the TotalEnergies Michelet site in Toulouse, said the impact on air transport "can be immediate", according to comments reported by France Bleu. In a leaflet, the CGT specifies that this call concerns the companies GPA, Fas, Skytanking, Sasca, Sap, TotalEnergies, Avitair and WFS, whose refuellers work at the airports of Roissy, Orly, Le Bourget, Beauvais, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse , Bordeaux, Tarbes, Perpignan, Nantes, Lille, Strasbourg, Rennes, Nîmes, Brest, Nice and Toussus.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) announced that on Thursday March 2 it had asked airlines to cancel 20% of flights at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport on March 7 and 8. 30% of flights will also be canceled at Paris-Orly, Beauvais, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice and Toulouse airports over these two days. The difficulties are expected from March 6 in the evening, until "Thursday, March 9 at 6 a.m.", specifies the administration in a press release relayed by BFMTV.

The truckers, who had not previously joined the strike movement against the pension reform, will also take part in the mobilization of March 7. “The confederations are calling for France to be brought to a halt, we are going to do our part”, warns Patrick Blaise, general secretary of the CFDT Route, the leading union in the sector. Words reported by Le Parisien. The modalities of this strike movement differ however according to the trade union organizations of the profession. Indeed, FO and Solidaires are calling for walkouts from this Sunday evening at 10 p.m., for an “unlimited period”, reports the daily from the Ile-de-France region. The CGT, CFDT, CFTC and CFE-CGC are calling for a 48-hour movement for the days of March 7 and 8.

To the strike movement will be added several actions everywhere in France, from Monday morning. Blockages by drivers of logistics platforms and industrial areas are planned, for example in Hauts-de-France and in the Paris region, specifies Le Parisien. Blockages which could have "consequences on the supply of large retailers", warned Patrick Blaise, secretary general of the CFDT Route. Occupations of roundabouts, filter dams, but also snail operations on the outskirts of large cities and on major axes, are also planned, adds Le Parisien.

The National Federation of Ports and Docks called for a strike on March 7 and 8, as reported by Sud Ouest. “90% of dockers, 80% of port workers” will be on strike on March 7, according to Tony Hautbois, of the CGT des ports et docks, whose remarks are relayed by France Inter. Tony Hautbois has also announced a day of "dead ports" on March 8, with the aim of preventing the entry or exit of goods.

The CGT federations of public services and transport have also announced a renewable movement with garbage collectors and "the whole industry" of waste from March 7, in a joint press release. The CGT is the majority in Paris among municipal and private garbage collectors, notes RTL.

In the energy sector, the renewable strike has already started since Friday afternoon. Indeed, the CGT Mines et Energie (FNME-CGT) said on Twitter on Friday afternoon: "EDF agents from nuclear power plants are going on strike, this afternoon there is a drop in electricity production. " “We have just called for generalization, including in hydraulics”, then specified Sébastien Ménesplier, secretary general of the FNME-CGT, according to comments reported by Le Parisien.

According to data published by EDF and relayed by Les Echos, the production of certain nuclear reactors and certain hydraulic power stations was disrupted on Saturday, for the second day in a row, without causing power cuts for individuals. This Sunday, the production of electricity from certain French nuclear reactors continues to be disrupted by walkouts by EDF agents, according to information from BFMTV. The FNME-CGT justified this early departure from the strike movement by examining article 1 of the pension reform in the Senate, which concerns the abolition of special regimes, including that enjoyed by electricians and gas workers. Sébastien Ménesplier, secretary general of the FNME-CGT, indicated that the movement will last "at least until 7 [March] and at most until winning". "If Emmanuel Macron does not want a France at a standstill and a dark week in energy, it would be better for him to withdraw his reform", he added, according to remarks reported by Les Echos.

The CGT Chemistry Federation (Fnic-CGT), which includes refineries, is calling for a renewable strike in the sector from March 6 in the evening. According to a union representative of the Fnic-CGT, contacted by Le Figaro, fuel shortages could occur from March 7. "They could be of the same magnitude as last October, when we organized a strike of several days to obtain a salary increase", estimates this union representative in the columns of the daily. Eric Sellini, CGT coordinator for the TotalEnergies group, specified the sectors concerned by this call for a renewable strike: "refining, the petrochemical industry, the pharmaceutical industries, rubber, plastics". Information reported by The Telegram.

In a joint press release published on Saturday, the seven main unions in the education sector (CGT éduc'action, SGEN-CFDT, FNEC-FP-FO, FSU, SNALC, SUD Education, UNSA-Education) called "to strike massively on March 7", "to mobilize massively, in particular by striking on March 8, international day of struggle for women's rights", "to decide in a general assembly on the follow-up to be given to the mobilization, including the renewal of the strike" and "to participate in the mobilizations planned for March 9 by youth organizations". "Our education organizations will meet to relay and decline in our workplaces the positions adopted by the inter-professional inter-union following March 7. They already support the schools and establishments which decide to continue the strike after March 7," the statement said. It would therefore seem that we are heading towards a renewable movement in the education sector from March 7.

The first primary school union, the SNUIPP-FSU, warned on Monday March 6 that more than 60% of primary school teachers would be on strike on March 7. In the capital the rate goes up to 65% with "at least 120 schools" completely closed out of 645.

The CGT Transports called on the delivery people of platforms such as UberEats, JustEat or Deliveroo to participate in the strike against the pension reform of March 7. The union said in a press release: "Faced with remarks disconnected from all reality, the CGT Transports calls on the delivery people to organize themselves to decide on their demands in order to make them succeed, and to mobilize from March 7. next, by the work stoppage and the demonstration", reports 20 Minutes. It is difficult to predict whether the deliverers will respond, because they are not employees, but under the status of micro-entrepreneurs.

In a joint press release, the CGT unions of the main companies in the metallurgy sector (Thalès, Valéo, Stellantis, ArcelorMittal, Forvia, Airbus, Safran and Renault) call for "the metallurgy companies to be shut down" on March 7 next. "What we want is a renewable strike from 7 [March]", explained Michel Ducret, of the CGT Metallurgie federation. "The CGT of the major metallurgical groups unites and calls on employees, temporary workers and retirees to continue and intensify the struggle until victory is achieved, to meet in the workplace in order to decide on the strike of the March 7, of its renewal and to work to generalize the strikes", can we read in the joint press release of the CGT unions. Information reported by Le Figaro.

In its press release of February 11, the inter-union also indicated that it "will seize March 8, the international day of struggle for women's rights, to highlight the major social injustice of this reform against women". Since then, a call for a "feminist strike" has been published on the website. Among the signatories, we find, unsurprisingly, many feminist associations, but also trade unions such as the CGT or the trade union Solidaires. However, the modalities of this movement are still unclear at the moment.

In addition, 13 youth organizations are calling for a "day of action and youth mobilization on March 9", including the student unions Unef, Alternative and Fage, or militant youth organizations from left-wing political parties. Here again, it is difficult to estimate for the moment what the magnitude of this movement will be.

According to information from Le Parisien published on Thursday March 2, the inter-union is considering new mobilizations on March 11 and 14. But in a press release issued in response to the article in the Ile-de-France daily, the inter-union denied that "other dates, such as March 11 and 14, are on the agenda". "The intersyndicale will meet on the evening of March 7 to discuss the follow-up," the statement said. Le Parisien nevertheless indicates that sources in the entourage of the unions have declared to their journalists that "these dates are well discussed".