President Sarkozy threw down the gauntlet to the teaching unions immediately after the hugely successful national strike and demonstrations on Thursday.
He shocked union leaders by ignoring their protests against his ‘reforms’ and took aim at the right to strike.
He announced provocatively that he was ordering a Bill to go before the National Assembly, to be passed before the summer, calling for the introduction of a ‘minimum service’ on the days of strike in the primary sector.
This strike-breaking move would mean that the local authorities keep the schools open and organise supervised day care for the children.
Alongside this, education minister Darcos is to make it compulsory for the education unions to give at least forty-eight hours notice of any strike action to give time for the anti-strike plans to be put into effect.
The general secretary of the FSU teachers’ union, Gérard Aschieri, warned that a ‘red line has been crossed’.
Thursday’s mass demonstrations, of teachers and youth, when an estimated 450,000 marched, were nationwide and called by both the education and the public and civil service unions, to protest against the government’s job cuts, wage restraint and privatisation moves across all the public services.
Next Thursday, May 22, will see workers on the streets again as the five great union confederations, CGT, CFDT, FO, CGC and CFTC have called for a national day of action and demonstrations by workers in both the public and private sectors to defend pensions and the age of retirement from the right-wing ‘reform’ attacks.
All the SNCF rail unions have decided to strike on the 22nd and the RATP, Paris urban transport network, and Air France unions are also making the call.
Sarkozy’s provocation is expected to increase the turnout.