It looks set to be another tough week for French President Nicolas Sarkozy. As unions gear up for more strike action a new opinion poll shows Sarkozy’s popularity has plummeted to an all time low. One of his advisors tried to explain the dismal ratings.
Raymond Soubie, social affairs advisor to the president said: ‘‘Firstly, this reform touches something symbolic – retirement at the age of 60, we can’t do anything else. And then secondly, it’s because we are on the way out of an economic crisis.’‘
Even though the French parliament has given approval to the government’s unpopular pension reform bill, unions have promised to keep up the fight.
The head of France’s powerful CGT union Bernard Thibault said. ‘‘No one can predict how these events will unfold. What one can say, and what I tell you, is that this level of discontent will not just stop like in a school playground with a whistle. Where we tell the unruly children to stop and go back to class.’‘
Along with the continued fuel shortages caused by the ongoing blockades at France’s oil refineries, another national walkout is planned for this Thursday.
In the southern French city of Marseilles the rubbish build-up had become so desperate because of strikes, councillors decided to clean it up themselves. That reportedly prompted angry scenes with refuse workers.