Violent agitation, particularly in Paris for so many weeks, brought bad name to one of the most peaceful and civilized country of the world. Here is some background of France and Paris. Since the end of second world war when all other countries of Europe suffered loss of millions of their armed personnel as well as civilians and in addition faced the partial destruction of their cities and industries and infrastructure, France and Paris remained unharmed without loss of lives of their most civilized citizens as well as their industries, buildings and infrastructure.
Despite Occupation of France by German Army in second world war up to 1945 when France had negotiated with Germany that French government would vacate Paris which should not be harmed, destroyed as it was the most beautiful city in the world. Arch-de-Triumph French capital around Eifel Towers was most attractive in 1947 when world Scouts Jamboree was held near Paris in August 1947 attended by thousand of scouts from all over the world including India, USA, UK, South Africa etc. Why such a prolonged agitation spreading over weeks causing closure of schools, universities, oil depots and many industries all over France, hitting the air ports, air flight from Paris and other towns? All this made Sarkozy government as one of the most unpopular and arrogant leaders of France since 1945. It is only on 23rd Oct. that Sarkozy has beaten a retreat by accepted the basic demands of French workers not to raise retirement age from 60 to 62 years of age. Though France like other Europe countries and USA, in particular was faced with recession and Sarkozy wanted to improve the economy and save hundreds of billions of Francs, but it was unwise to let the agitation go on for weeks without his coming forward to negotiate with the worker union leaders for such a longtime.
It was the worst riots in Europe even when violent agitators torched cars and indulged in fire bombing. Such a display of violence had never happened before in France. Raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 and reforms in pension as ordered by Sarkozy without consulting the unions of workers and their representatives was high handed and one sided decision imposed by the French government. Though French workers have always got and enjoyed the best working conditions like health services, housing and only 35 working hours in a week.
The package of reforms not only is about raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 but also calls for qualifying for “full pension from 65 to 67 years.” French are particular about their privileges and cannot bear the loss of their privileges but even want more. So they violently opposed the pension and retirement age package for weeks.
French agitation and rioting has set a bad precedent for other European countries, their workers and unions that, if need be, and the government of the day is adamant and the PM like Sarkozy arrogant, they can also go on strike for 3 weeks or more till their demands are met and the government of the day retracts from its unseasonable and arrogant stand.
French Senate has, in disregard of violent agitation for a number of weeks, causing loss of hundreds of billions of dollars to French Economy, passed the bill raising the age of retirement to 62 with other benefits. Agitation has been resumed by workers as before and is violent as earlier. It is France’s misfortune to have a leader like Sorkozy who is considered to be the worst leader of France in 50 years.