If you were in Lyon on September 7th, you heard the pounding drums, the smokes machines, the honking pissed of drivers and lots of people shouting lots of angry things and sometimes the name “Sarkozy” would pass by.
Grèves are also known as protests in English and they are fairly common in France. In fact, so common, on the day of the 6th, Bri looked at me and said, “Yah, there’s a grève tomorrow.” And it’s not like in USA where 15 people wander around with picket signs, it’s like 100-2,000 people shouting and cheering and yelling. Apparently 50,000 people got out to protest (around france) for this one.
What’s going in is Sarkozy, in order to try to help the fiscal budget, wants to increase the retirement age from 60 years old to 62 years old. This means people looking to retire at 60 (or were close) won’t be able to, which in French terms is like saying, “I can raise the age to any age I want and your retirement means nothing to me.” French people love their vacations and retirement, if you mess with that you’re a dick.
The reason it’s such a big deal as well, is that it’s following a big scandal involving L’Oréal’s old founder and Sarkozy… people say because she’s old she was tricked into giving him the campaign funds that pretty much bought his vote. Either way it was given in cash so it wasn’t considered illegal- well.. people don’t like being lied to or tricked in any country, so France is in a bit of an upheaval about it.
So pretty much, people who want to retire won’t be able to for two more years, people who don’t like Sarkozy don’t like him even more and it’s just another day in France. Seriously, grèves are ‘pas grave’ it’s just a part of who they are.
Y’aren’t happy? Stage a protest. You want some more wages? Create a grève. Even the national assembly shouts and hoots during speeches from ministers if they don’t like something. It’s cultural.