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Are you fed up with the strikes?

February 23rd, 2010
01:38 PM ET

Industrial action continues to grip parts of Europe causing chaos - even though German airline Lufthansa suspended a four day strike.

French air traffic controllers are on strike affecting half the flights at Orly Airport in Paris along with 25 percent of flights at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Also in France, gas giant Total said about 100 of 4,000 gas stations in the country are beginning to run out of fuel as a strike by oil refinery workers enters a second week.

In Spain, a proposal to raise the mandatory retirement age to 67 has prompted unions to call for a massive Madrid street protest Tuesday.

And on Wednesday, widespread strikes are expected in Greece over austerity measures the government plans to implement to cut its large public debt, which has caused stock market jitters and concerns that sovereign debt problems will spill across the world.

We want to know what you think?

Are you fed up with all the strikes across Europe? Do you think it's right that workers strike during one of the worst economic slowdowns in history?

Filed under:  General
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Jimmy

    No personaly I am not fed up. On the contrary I am afraid that we haven't seen the beginning of it yet. The hard reality of the economic crisis is realy starting to sink in. And the fact that the measures taken are designed to benefit the company environment, but not support the society (with in the end is the raison d'etre for business) is not helping at all.
    Unless, we see some concrete measures to support society as a whole, I'm afraid we're only waiting for more trouble to erupt in the future.

    February 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  2. Greg

    Capitalism is the most efficient method to allocate resources for the economy. But the economy is the people working. People are the purpose.
    These pilots want to work, that is what their strike is about.
    A crisis created by high level financial mismanagement does not then justify taking jobs away from workers (or reducing worker pay). Let the mismanagement result in lower corporate profits, they've earned that themselves.

    February 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  3. Patty Sánchez from Mexico

    Strikes are one of the few ways society and the whole working class is got to express their no agreement with centain issues.This is the way to "pull" rulers down from their comfortable zone, the way we bring them to reality.

    February 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  4. Pete

    Strikes are stupid, unions are stupid. Why else do you think we have everything made in China?

    February 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  5. Frank

    Strikes support the worker's right to collective bargaining. Without strikes, working class folks would be eating old pizza out of garbage cans. Read about what life was life for the poor before unions. Anything the Common Man (and Woman) can do to defeat the Super Rich, I am for. Note: the press gives a bad perspective on the struggle of workers–demonizes them. After all, the press is controlled by the Super Rich. After the Super Rich redistributed all of our country's wealth, and crashed the economy, they should be careful about demonizing the workers. Although I don't think America is ready for a French Revolution, we are ready for something.

    February 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  6. Scott

    I am not fed up with strikes. I'm inspired as a Union member that those in Europe are standing up for themselves and not being deceived by Corporate greed.

    February 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  7. Brooke

    As a person whose spouse was recently part of one of the largest unions in the United States, I can honestly say our experience was a nightmare. The Union Leadership made poor decisions and misled its members into rejecting credible contracts several times over. Their tactics reminded us of how the government has in the past intentionally relied on mistaken public beliefs to help move public opinion in their favor. While I see the benefit of the Union in protecting workers from a harsh economy and the abuses of corporate giants, I also think that the Unions currently running the show need to be less greedy and more realistic. The Economy is changing as the world becomes more interconnected, this limits the opportunites workers have to fight and battle, as well as demands new battle plans. Unions need to update their tactics with the changing economy.

    February 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  8. Moussa

    Of course fed up... all these unions are gonna bring Europe down.... China will prevail and soon force europe to bend....

    Goo China!!!!

    February 23, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  9. Mike

    Yes I think it is right. The workers have not created the crisis. Strikes are the only way to act now, otherwise the burden of rescuing capitalism will fall upon the working classes backs all the heavier.

    February 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  10. Doug

    As a union steward I may be biased but I have seen firsthand how unions benefit even small towns and people. Noone ever wants to strike. You never make up what you have lost on a strike. You have to take a stand somewhere though. There is more to negotiating contracts than just money. Working conditions, vacations, health care all play a big part in union contracts. These people have a say in what they get paid. They know what they are worth and they expect to be reimbursed as close to that amount as possible.

    February 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Reply
  11. abbott

    Why pose the question as if the strikers are the problem? Give them fair pay, conditions, and benefits and they won't have to strike. Of course, by suggesting that the public should be "fed up with all the strikes" you encourage us to support the super-rich who are oppressing workers and depressing the world economy.

    February 23, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  12. Galen

    It is about time that people start standing up to the heads of the companies who have raped and plunderred from their employees and customers. I hope to see much more activity from labor unions across the world!!!

    February 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  13. bg

    Yes! Unions had their time and place in history and that is exactly where they belong, in history along with buggy whips. They are no longer part of the solution but are now part of the problem. But since there is way too much power and money involved they are not going to go away peacefully.

    February 23, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  14. Laura

    Union members and their supporters really need to grow up and stop living in their little fantasy world. You are the most selfish people – no problem with screwing up someone's long awaited vacation by going on strike, no problem with raising peoples taxes so you can have your annual raise (regardless of whether you actually deserve it – no such thing as merit increases for a union member – do they even understand the concept of pay on merit? – doubt it), no problem with how it affects your neighbor who may have lost their job but yet their taxes keep rising so you can get your raise, unlimited sick time, carryover vacation time for big payouts when you retire, mandatory contributions to your pension plans, extra overtime the year before retirement to pump up your pensions, etc., etc., etc. – it's just give me, give me, give me or I'll go out on strike. I say fire them all if they strike – there's a lot of unemployed people who would be happy to have their job. The majority of people have no sympathy for you and your so-called "grievances".

    February 23, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  15. Ray

    No I am not fed up, and I feel that they have a right to strike. These "workers" are very smart people, and are not doing this to hurt their company. If their company fails, they the workers are out of a job. But if they don't stand up now for themselves, they will most likely be out of ajob in 3 to 5 years anyway. These companies are down-sizing and sending their jobs to "low cost partners". Their company policies are not being done because of the economy, but for greed. These companies want the workers to pay for their greed.

    February 23, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  16. Michael

    A strong labor movement is critical to getting us out of this financial mess. If the working class does not have expendable income the system fails. Workers support the whole economy.
    Strikes are an important instrument in balancing a company's profits between the shareholders and the workers. Strikes are critical tools regardless of the inconvenience that one may experience. In fact, this inconvenience is an important part of a strike. It wakes the rest of us up to the struggle that these particular workers are experiencing.
    I find the wording that CNN chose to be a bit skewed. "Are you fed up with the strikes?"
    Maybe "How do you feel about the strikes?" or something a bit more objective would have been appropriate.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:01 am | Reply
  17. Cristhian

    Yes I'm tired of all these strikes unions don't really care about employees or customers. It's was a grudge-fest with the company. Most employees think that they union is on their side, the union is no one's side and once it all falls apart the union will tell you that they didn't tell you to vote yes to strike.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:19 am | Reply
  18. Millie

    Fed up with Strikes!! Absolutely not! What I am fed up with is all these CEO's who keep taking and giving themselves bonses on the sweat of labor. If all the workers were to unite perhaps we can turn it around
    and have the scales tip to labor's favor!!!

    February 24, 2010 at 12:41 am | Reply
  19. Doug

    You want to see greed look at what he top union officials are paid, much more than the people they represent. Unions do help but there is a point where they pull down an industry, just look at the auto industry. It is unrealistic to believe you can force an company to keep your job when it is going bankrupt, but then European unions have never been realistic.

    February 24, 2010 at 2:28 am | Reply
  20. David

    Strike help workers vent frustration, but they do not alter the basic economic fact that money-losing companies MUST cut costs if they are to survive. Ultimately, all costs fall on the workers (even if you cut costs of supplies, such as fuel, that just pushes the pain downstream.)

    Hindsight is perfect - what could have, should have and might have been done differently. But ultimately workers must reduce their wage and benefit demands to more realistic levels. Because passengers, for example, want to pay less because their pay went down. Everyone wants to benefit from lower prices during the recession, but nobody wants to accept that lower prices to generate demand ultimately come at the cost of lower wages and benefits.

    You can't have it both ways, folks.

    February 24, 2010 at 3:26 am | Reply
  21. Russell

    Yes the work actions are inconvenient and are disruptive to travel plans. Labour needs to come to grips with the world economic condition and the need to be satisfied just to have a job. In addition, the large number of holidays given to workers is just too much and makes the European worker less competitive than their North American or Asian counterparts. The combination of pay and benefits must be closely monitored but more importantly the reputation of the affected companies cannot be damaged any further. I for one would avoid Alitalia after all of their past problems and British Air is getting a reputation. In the US they just fired an entire school's teachers...perhaps just the beginning with more to come.

    February 24, 2010 at 4:18 am | Reply
  22. DR

    I have always been and always will be an advocate of unions and how they represent and protect worker rights throughout the world. The problem is that the world is changing and we all have to change our attitudes and expectations as a result. It is difficult times for everybody, but those of us with jobs have to accept that we are the lucky ones, and there is a greater expectation on us to bring about the changes that will bring us out of the downturn. This is not the time to be defending our rights and maintining the status quo – this is a time where we need to work together for the benefit of all who live on this planet. I believe this applies to all, whether worker, employer, bankers, or government. The biggest obstical I see to this is the disconnect that exists in various corporate, banking and government cirles worlwide, with reality, and the percieved aim of protecting economies adhead of communities.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:45 am | Reply
  23. Maria

    Strikes can be really tough but they have to do with the rights of people. In Greece, the previous government increased our deficit by who knows how many millions, and this one is trying its best to make up for past mistakes. The point is that they should aim HIGH and not at the middle class, working people nor at pensioners. So... yes, strikes are necessary but only for good reasons and ,of course, they shouldn't be incited by people who simply belong to opposite parties!! We need to manifest our rights even if this means that we too may suffer.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:14 am | Reply
  24. Mike

    Strikes are good because they force the financial system to take heed to human demands. The financial system is fundamentally the same today as it was 100 years ago. At that time we forced capital to ensure the 8 hour payday in all industrialized countries. Today a 100 years later workers are 100-fold more effective and productive, yet we still work 8 hours a day.

    Naturally this creates a great surplus in goods, goods which cannot be sold because of a saturated market. This steers the production towards goods that can be sold, the only problem is that so few have the means to buy these goods.

    The lack of central planning over the time people work creates a consumerist society, creating needs we don't need and hides fundamental flaws in the system. This surplus production creates this over-estimation of assets and the recurring crises. Strikes are good in such a fashion as they increase the workers purchasing power (and their power over their jobs). Allthough the best thing strikes do is neither.

    The best thing strikes do is they put focus on the relationship between labor and capital.

    Instead of producing more we need to produce more clever. Instead of increasing the 35-hour week as in France we must decrease the hours we work.

    It's time for the 6 hour payday (with the same wage).

    With the 6 hour payday we can share the jobs instead of bidding under each other competing for them. With a 6 hour payday we can have more recreational time, improving our health and our sence of wellbeing.

    In society this increases the production of goods we really need, since poor people will make more money thus increasing the demand for those products, also making them cheaper to produce because of the laws of mass-production, eradicating poverty. The demand for unecessary products will in turn decrease, the profit rates drop and unecessary jobs such as brokers face harder competition.

    Hope you understand, i'm from Sweden and English is my second language.

    February 24, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  25. Cathy Dalton

    As an individual who has pretty always been self-employed, and therefore never a burden on the state, I'm more than fed-up. I have no security of tenure, no possibility of state-funded retirement, very little return on the PRSI I am permitted (in Ireland) to pay as a self-employed person, minimum holidays. And no, I do't usually complain, but it's getting to be a bit much. Half of my own profession is currently unemployed. Half. I emigrated before; that's not open to me now because of my family situation. I have no voice, few entitlements. The company has been unable to pay into my pension since Christmas, so now I don't have one. An public servant here a complaining that here salaries have been "cut" by making larger payment into their five-star pension plans? Get off the stage. I should be so lucky.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  26. Sherry

    Fair enough, some of it's justified, but some it is pathetic!
    Demanding this, that and the other in their jobs, just appreciate the fact that you have a job in this economic climate! If you don't like it give it up to someone who won't complain and probably work twice as hard!

    As for this student loan bull, i don't see why the whole working country should pay for a students education when they will end up with a much higher salary at the end of it and have no problem paying the money back!
    Fair enough if someone wants to be a doctor etc, something that benefits the people here, but I don't think it's justified to expect everybody's hard earned tax money to pay for someone who wants to get a degree in music, or dance, or a foreign language for example,
    There's nothing wrong with doing those, but they don't benefit us in the long run so why should our taxes be spent on them!

    January 22, 2011 at 1:22 am | Reply

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