Monday, 16 June 2008

Train Strikes, Grrrr!

There are more train strikes on today, well one strike anyway as it seems to only be on my line to work and everything else seems to be unaffected. I didn't know there was going to be a strike today, I hadn't seen any warnings on their internet sites and I normally check them quite diligently now. I guess in France I should get in the habit of always taking my work home with me in the quite likely chance that there will be a strike on the next day and I can't get to work. I waited on the platform for an hour, 4 trains came by (normally that would be something like 10-20 trains) and I literally couldn't get on any of them. People were having to grab onto the door frame and then force themselves on by pushing against the frame. I'm sorry I haven't lived in Paris long enough to get quite that up close and personal with people. Wedged in with all the other sweaty people and getting crushed more and more as the train continues on it's journey, no thanks.

My options are either to try again in an hour and hope that the people traffic has died down somewhat, or I could catch 2 buses then a train and then walk for 20 minutes and end up at work 2 hours later, hmmmm I think I know which one I'll be trying. I guess I always have a third option and that is to just not go to work today. The thing is I have 2 weeks left here and I really want to submit a paper before I go, and these strikes are making it hard to achieve that.

Whilst I was coming out of the train station to think about my options, there were a group of communists handing out their pamphlets about the strike and that sort of thing. Not many people were taking them, surprisingly enough. I don't think they are doing their cause any favours. I can understand why the transport workers go on strike and I certainly agree with their right to industrial action, but the problem in France seems to be that strikes are their only sort of action, there's no negotiating, no meetings, well the negotiations seem to go one way only. And if the workers don't get all their demands meet they go on strike, in fact even if their demands are getting meet they still go on strike. Unfortunately the transport workers really know that they hold all the power in Paris, and I don't think it is very fair of them to hold all us poor working saps hostage every time their, kind of unreasonable, demands aren't meet.

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