France's Most Powerful Trade Union Warns It Will Resist Sarkozy's Announced Attack on Labor
May 13 (EIRNS)--Independent.com reported on May 12 that Bernard Thibault, the head of the CGT trade union confederation - France's largest - has warned President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy that any attempt to ram through his radical reform program will lead to a battle and strikes against those proposals. Sarkozy's proposals include ending some public workers being allowed to retire at 55, compulsory strike ballots, a legal obligation for striking transport workers to provide minimum service, and changing the 35-hour work week. The article notes that the strength of the unions in public services, especially transport, "means strikes are high profile and highly effective in bringing the country to a halt." The current issue of Britain's The Economist , in its article on Sarkozy's election, predicts a period of turbulence for France in the coming six months: "Governments have repeatedly tried to trim privileges and benefits in order to rescue the welfare system from collapse, only to be defeated on the street ..."