Saturday, October 01, 2005

Back to 1936

The latest incidents in Corsica remind me of my youth, when we were protesting in the streets, trying to convince the government

to maintain its stake in the deficit laden steel industry sector. 25 years have past and steel industry, as well as coal mining, are history in France, sacrificed on the altar of profitability. Is this sad? Surely for all the families that have been badly hit by the situation, but looking at the tough work conditions of these industries, it might be better to follow the trend of western countries and evolve to a service and leisure oriented society (who said shallow?).

Anyway, it was profitable for common good to relieve the state from such debt-crippled industries, and the same applies to the ferry operator SNCM. What is tragic is the incapacity of the government to explain this simple fact that there is no more wonderland and welfare states ; what is also tragic is the fact that the unions are still engrossed in concepts dating from the middle of the 20th century.

A nice alternative would have been to help the employees of the SNCM to buy their company, make it their own so they would take care of it in the way that would please them and make them proud. That would have been a better investment than this pathetic last-minute promise of keeping a few percent stake in the operator.

But we live now in a society that has the luxury of considering that rights are not balanced with duties, so it is easier to enter in a useless and expensive blockade to have workers rights recognized instead of helping them dealing with the duty of saving and restoring the company they work for so hard.

This is not a easy talk and surely not one you want to hold less than two years from presidential elections. Who cares about truly empowering people? Let the noise-making property-breaking unions do their show. Welcome back to 1936.

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