20 September 2007

Confessions of a Political Junkie

WHEN YOU ARE addicted to politics that way I am you'll even watch French President Nikolas Zarkozy when he makes a nationally televised speech -- even you can't understand a word he is saying. I knew the speech was coming thanks to some English papers and radio stations. The issue: the French public servant pension program. The way it stands right now, workers in France's public section (including rail workers and state workers) can often retire at age 50 (yes, I said 50) and draw full benefits from the government. Sarkozy is calling for a 'new social contract' (great Rousseauian reference) and wants a new revolution to take place in France.

The head of super-union CTG called the speech a 'declaration of war' and the nation's largest rail union called for a national strike to begin in mid-October. The last time the government attempted this kind of reform, the national rail union crippled the country with a three-week strike and the reform measures were called off. Boring for many of you, I suspect, so I won't go on. But full details will certainly appear even in the US and British press.

And I'll follow the story closely because if I stay in France long enough there's a chance I can retire in about 15 years.

1 comment :

benoitbee said...

Americans out to love this speech. I think the general French public will as well. But I wouldn't plan any holidays for late October if you plan to take the train.