Mass protests held across Paris over inflation, low salaries
Mass protests are happening across France against high food and energy prices and the sanctions on Russia that are crippling the French economy. Yet the media continues to turn a blind eye to this.
Massive strikes were held today in Paris and at various locations across France over stagnating wages in the face of high inflation and lower living standards, according to reports.
The protests were initiated and organized by the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) and a number of other trade union centers.
Workers from various industries, which include foremost the energy and nuclear sectors, public transport, agri-food, banking, and commerce sectors, as well as education and public healthcare, walked off their jobs today to take part in the protests.
Among the protesters were yellow vests, leftists, youths, and Antifa radical activists.
"We joined the demonstration to demand salary hikes to offset the cost-of-living crisis sparked by the energy crisis and the war. But you shouldn’t blame the war alone because capitalists use it to pocket money," a protester told Sputnik.
Massive protest in Paris, France against European Union policies and worsening energy crisis. pic.twitter.com/4HtbASB0uH— The Poll Lady (@ThePollLady) October 17, 2022
Since September 27, employees at the French and US energy groups TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil have been demanding a pay raise of 10% well as the indexing of 2022 wages to match the record-breaking inflation.
Workers have been outraged over the immense wealth amassed by the two refineries after a price surge allowed the companies to commission mindblowing dividends, as well as additional special dividends to investors.
On October 11, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne unapologetically told oil refinery workers that they need to "learn how to stop a strike" and further threatened workers that the government was prepared to use force to order staff at depots run by Exxon's Esso France unit back to work, with similar measures possible at Total depots if wage talks don't lead to a solution.
The CGT union called the government's plans violent and suspended all ongoing negotiations with it.
"Let's get out of NATO!"— sarah (@sahouraxo) October 8, 2022
Tens of thousands of people in Paris today calling for France to leave NATO. pic.twitter.com/AmeIsAKll7
So far, the strikes have caused a reduction of France’s total refinery output by more than 60%. equivalent to 740,000 barrels of gasoline a day.
Moreover, the French energy ministry reported that almost 30% of the country's gas stations were experiencing shortages of at least one type of fuel.
Earlier today, Transport Minister Clement Beaune said that the rail operator SNCF will face "severe disruptions" with half of the train services canceled. Suburban and bus services in the Paris region will also be interrupted, according to RATP, but the inner-Paris metro system should remain relatively unharmed.
Their actions will likely set the tone for contentious autumn and winter as Macron works to achieve his hallmark domestic policy of raising the retirement age in France. However, the economic strain created by the war in Ukraine and the sanctions on Russia, along with Macron's party's inability to achieve an overall majority in June legislative polls, only adds to the magnitude of the task.