France lived in an intense day of strikes by different groups: the taxi drivers went against competition from vehicles with driver, and air traffic controllers, teachers and officials showed their wage claims.
The French taxi drivers protest against so-called chauffeured vehicles (VTC) and Uber, focused on key access points in several cities, traffic collapsed and where lived moments of tension.
On the outskirts of Paris, protesters blocked the airport of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly, where one person was injured and another was detained in the attempt by a driver to break the barrier formed by the pickets.
Taxi drivers occupied the street in front of the Ministry of Economy and obstructed circulation in the peripheral road around Paris, Porte de la Chapelle and Porte Maillot.
The climate was tense in the latter place, where dozens of taxi drivers threw tires and set fires, and police arrested 19 people.
A violence that the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls condemned “negative for the profession and the country’s image”.
The French colleagues strikers arrived from Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom joined.
“The lack of commitment of politicians is common. Facing a consolidated sector that generates thousands of jobs, it seems that you want to unleash the black economy, fraud, tax evasion and the lack of guarantees” complained Efe vice president of the Confederation of Taxi Spain, Julio Sanz Garcia, who advocated the creation of a European Union of the guild.
The problem in France is “more dramatic” than in Spain, according to Sanz, and compared the situation as shown in Paris, in front of 19,000 taxis and 14,200 VTC in Madrid, with 15,700 taxis in front of VTC 1500, according to figures from the association.
“If we do not react, we will soon live similar situations,” said Sanz.
In that sense, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo said he would propose to the mayors of cities like New York, Madrid or Barcelona “work the problem of the ‘uberización’ to set certain rules to protect workers in the sector”.
Protests were also lived in other cities of France, like Toulouse (south), where strikers blocked the access to the train station and the airport, and in Marseilles (southeast), where they organized withholding at the entrance of the city.
Valls, in a meeting with taxi associations, pledged to “amplify the controls” vehicles with driver, to appoint a mediator to conduct negotiations and to consider “individual situations.”
Measures that were not well received among the protesters. Opposite the Ministry of Economy, the driver Frédéric Grégoire, 44 and come from Marseille emphasized to Efe its “lack of confidence” and lamented the existence of “different tax systems” favoring VTC detriment of taxi drivers.
So he said he was going to stay focused on the place, like Fabrice Garoyan, Parisian taxi driver 50 years, said the lack of enforcement of Circular 2014 prohibiting the VTC looking for customers.
Air traffic controllers were one of the sectors on strike today, with wage claims and allegations of suppression of a thousand jobs in the last five years, 5% of the total.
The strikes forced the airline to suspend 20% of its flights and generated delays of between half and one hour, reported the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC).
French officials also took to the streets following the call of the big unions (CGT, FO and Solidarity) to demand an increase in pay, a few weeks before the opening of negotiations with the government, which accepts only a “symbolic” rise .
Among civil servants, teachers added to the salary question the rejection of education reform planned for next year.
The unions estimated that a third of the group had joined the demonstrations, while the Ministry of Education said track 13%.
Teaching professionals fear that the new model, which attaches greater importance to group work, increase their workload.