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Southern France
Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Quick: What word associations do you make?

Wine.  Yes
Cheese.  Yes
Love.  Oh, la laBien sûr
Strikes.  ???
Once you get to know France a little more, you’ll see they like to strike.  Over the holidays, there is always a threat of us missing a flight, whether it be the airline workers or the train conductors that get us up to the airport.  I’m for unions; I was in one when I was a teacher.  My union did a great job negotiating for my needs and I had no problems supporting them for the work they did on my behalf.  Thanks to their hard work, I never had to strike.

This last year, I had friends who went on strike.  They are Chicago Public School teachers and they went on strike for 7 days.  When the strike was called, they did not know when they were going back to work.  Negotiations needed to be made and only when a satisfactory deal was meet did they walk back into the classroom.  These are the type of strikes I knew; hard shut downs that were meant to send a message when backs were put against the wall.

In France, strikes occur differently.  They are soft strikes; that is, they are not indefinite; they last only a day.  The trains don’t run, airline baggage doesn’t get checked, or teachers don’t go to school – for a single day.  The next day, everything is back in order as if nothing has happened.  This occurs quite often, for example, elementary school teachers went on strike yesterday.  Today, everything is back to usually.  I’m not questioning the reasons for a strike, but the method.  Quite often, the needs of workers are not met and they’ve simply missed a day of pay.  Sometimes, a second strike day is called a few weeks later, but the moment has already passed.  There are not more negotiations and the workers’ contracts have already been modified.  The second strike day is just to say they are not satisfied with how things went down.  I’ve seen this happen time and time again, so I wonder why French workers stick to the soft strike.  It doesn’t seem to really work, at least from my perspective.

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