Strike of shop workers in France

On the first of February, thousands of shop workers from the large stores came out on strike for a wage increase and better working conditions. Their situation is certainly not great, in fact besides not having an adjustment to take into account inflation, these workers are threatened with more Sunday working and the introduction of automatic tills which will lead to heavy lay offs.

Whilst being supported by the major French unions for their own purposes, (with the CGT at the head) the participation of the workers is nevertheless very high, with figures over 80% amongst the cashiers at the hypermarkets.

This strike assumes greater importance if previous episodes of struggle in the sector were much more isolated and modes. Now a significant sector of the modern European proletariat, mostly female, has shown a first important indication of reaction.

The unions, momentarily obliged to take notice of their own members with a day of action, do not seem set to take on a real fight with the major retailers nor with the government. On the contrary, the unions, instead of strongly opposing the government’s project of reform of the labour market, signed, on the 21st of January, an agreement which will lead to greater freedom of dismissal, longer trial periods and an ever closer bond between wages and profits.