After the success of the day of January 19, the unions want to transform the test this Tuesday, January 31, for their second day of mobilization. As always, we will carefully scrutinize transport, where the effects of the strike are tangible. This Tuesday, the SNCF expects a mobilization similar to the first day (read the benchmarks). Will it serve as a locomotive again this time? “Yes, provided there are wagons to pull,” replies Bernard Aubin. The secretary general of the non-representative union First observes “caution” within the organizations of railway workers. Even at the CGT and SUD-rail which propose to hold general assemblies, on the evening of the 31st, and propose two new dates, February 7 and 8, in full examination of the reform by the deputies…
The CFDT railway workers refuse to “strike for others or in their place”, sums up Sébastien Mariani, deputy secretary general of the Transport Environment Federation. “It would be giving way to government rhetoric that it is always the same people who mobilize. On the contrary, it is necessary to consolidate a public opinion mainly against the reform. An Ifop-JDD poll, published on January 29, gives 68% of opponents to the project. “It is this progressive mobilization, on a broader basis, which creates divisions among the parliamentarians of the majority and of LR”, argues Sébastien Mariani, who would welcome a big Saturday of demonstrations, to mobilize those who, in the private sector, are reluctant to walk out. Broad support from the population is one of the ingredients of the success of the mobilization of 1995, which had made Prime Minister Alain Juppé back down and still serves today as a standard for arm wrestling around pensions.
“At the time, remembers Bernard Aubin, the unions framed a movement of spontaneous discontent, which inflation and growing precariousness could reproduce today. But above all they showed unfailing unity. The latter now seems more fragile. If the government negotiated with the unions, “all would not necessarily share the same position with regard to a gradual implementation of the reform or a broader consideration of hardship”. The context has changed. “The SNCF remains the last social bastion,” says Bernard Aubin. But on several occasions, the executive weakened it to push through its reforms. » Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, with the obligation made to the employees to warn 48 hours in advance their direction of their participation in a strike. And Emmanuel Macron in 2018 with the end of the “status” for new entrants.
At the RATP, the environment has also changed, despite the major disruptions expected. “Our blocking capacity is less, recognizes Frédéric Ruiz, president of the CFE-CGC. People are organizing to telecommute. Required to declare themselves 48 hours in advance, the strikers are sometimes replaced by executives. And then there are scooters and other self-service bicycles…”
The social climate, too, is singular, with the arrival at the head of the RATP of Jean Castex. To pass the pill of opening up to competition on the bus network in 2025, the former Prime Minister granted drivers an increase – including an annual increase – of approximately €400 net per month, subject to an increase of their working time. In any case, the employees of the RATP and the SNCF who remain under statute (1) will not be more affected by the reform than other sectors. The legal retirement age will be postponed by two years, as for the general scheme. He will go from 52 to 54 years old, but with an unchanged age of cancellation of the discount, at 57 years old. However, the average age of effective departure is already 56 for Parisian bus and metro drivers, and 55 for train drivers. “The issue is therefore not the special regimes but the situation of women and long careers,” underlines a source.
Elsewhere in France, on January 19, the disturbances had been less in the urban and interurban networks, “less accustomed to mobilizing for national claims”, according to an actor in the sector. “Despite everything, transport remains a key player in social movements, believes socio-historian Stéphane Sirot, especially if the unions switch to a renewable strike, the only solution, at a time of teleworking, to penalize the production system. »
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