Warning: French Culture in Danger

Mish

France, already in the midst of a 4-week transportation strike has a new activist complaint against Sunday shopping.

Sacred Sundays

Besieged by online rivals, retailers are staying open Sunday afternoons with automated cashiers. Critics see an invasion of American-style consumerism.

Please consider Self-Checkout in France Sets Off Battle Over a Day of Rest.

French labor rules prohibit most shops from employing workers past 1 p.m. on Sundays. But as e-commerce and online giants like Amazon usher in an era of round-the-clock spending, retailers are amping up the use of automated cashiers to help them compete.

The move has caused an outcry in France, where Sundays are traditionally a rest day for workers and families. While self-checkout machines are often used alongside cashiers, labor unions say that tilting toward fully cashierless operations threatens the French way of life by encouraging American-style consumerism and automation, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Sundays are sacred,” said Patrice Auvinet, the head of the General Confederation of Labor union in Angers, a midsize city in western France. “If they change that, it will change French society. And if automated cashiers become normalized, it will have a catastrophic impact on workers.”

At the Angers store, which employs 115 in a working-class neighborhood, Groupe Casino is having salaried employees clock out as usual at 12:30 p.m. on Sundays, then bringing in security guards, hired through another company, to keep the store open through evening. Groupe Casino had been operating 130 smaller stores in Paris and other cities using self-checkout machines to let consumers shop until midnight or even around the clock.

Chaos mounted when the protesters were joined by local members of the Yellow Vest movement, which arose last year to protest stagnating wages and declining living standards. Denouncing what they said was an erosion of workers’ living standards, they charged through the store, dumping produce in the aisles and heckling customers who were using the automatic checkout machines.

Fourth Week of Transportation Strikes

DW reports Christmas Transport Disrupted by Prolonged Strike.

Travelers in France faced frustrations on Wednesday, as the transport strike extended into its fourth week and coincided with the Christmas holiday.

Thousands of trains were cancelled or delayed, while taxis, ride-sharing services and car rental agencies were overwhelmed by demand. The underground metro in Paris was shut down, except for two lines.

At the center of the labor dispute, which sparked widespread protest and strikes lasting over two weeks, are reforms that would do away with 42 different pension schemes and replace them with a points-based system.

Additionally, the reforms seek to set 64 as the age until which people must work to earn a full pension. That is two years beyond the current official retirement age in France.

Even Paris Opera workers, who can retire at 42, joined the strike. On Tuesday, some 40 dancers performed Swan Lake to passers-by on the steps outside the opera house with banners warning: "Culture in danger."

Warning - Culture in Danger

Indeed.

And it's about time too.

Meanwhile, I suggest France Should Take a Lesson From Ronald Reagan: Fire the Strikers.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (49)
davebarnes
davebarnes

Last time I checked, the Code du Travail was 3000 pages. And, every French person thinks it is a sacred document.

No. 1-14
Latkes
Latkes

This is just silliness, there are much bigger issues. The French will be a hated minority in their own country within a few decades.

JonSellers
JonSellers

Let the French be French. I hate that everywhere I go people are forced to live like Americans. I like traveling and prefer to see an array of different lifestyles.

SMF
SMF

Sacred Sunday is a Catholic tradition, or did they forget already?

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

If I want to see a culture of protesting and rioting I don't need to visit France.

Herkie
Herkie

People post their indignation by taking a side for no real reason, America had the blue laws, where it was illegal do do any business on a Sunday.

Take Texas which is slightly larger than the size of France, I was stationed in Texas at 17 for training, back in 1976. Texas had very different laws than my home state of California. For example it was legal to drink alcohol while driving as long as you were not over the state limit of 0.16% blood alcohol (no open container laws).

You also had only to be an adult which at the time was 18, and I know because I celebrated my 18th birthday by buying a six pack of Bud tall boys and driving back to the base (it was fun because I looked 12 with the air force haircut that day SERIOUSLY I could pass for a 12 year old).

On the way I was stopped and scared absolutely schlitzless. I stuffed the beer with one sip gone under the driver's seat (pint going everywhere) and cooperated with the cop when he asked for my driver's licence (back then there was no demand for proof of insurance) and registration. Turns out my tail lights had blown a fuse and I borrowed his flashling to replace the bad connection. Remember when we all carried fuses in our glovebox? The cop stood behind my car and told me when the lights were working again and I got back into the car, he came around to the window and I thanked him for the use of his flashlight, he said I was welcome and reminded me that it was legal to drink and drive in Texas, as long as you are not drunk. Then wished me a happy 18th birthday and thanked me for my service.

I thought I got away with something and was so embarrassed he saw me drinking and driving.

Try that today.

Now, the federal government can and does dictate the laws of the various states through the use of withholding of federal funds if those states do not comply with federal standards that by the way are pegged to California. Sure Texas has the right to make 18 the age of consent, sure they have the right to make 0.016 the standard for too drunk to drive, sure they can have no open container laws, they just do not get any of the billions in federal highway funds that the rest of the nation gets, and on top of that the federal government says this is how your highways must be contructed, and it is expensive, but we will pay for more than half the cost as long as you're laws conform to our standards. Texas held out longer than other states but eventually had to cave.

This is federal tyranny but not by fiat, by purse. And by the way, in this state the standard for getting a DUI is far lower, a cop can arrest you for DUI if he sees any evidence that you are not a perfect driver, say you touched the lane markers on a freeway, and he smelled alcohol upon pulling you over. Both pretty subjective and thin evidence that you are drunk. You can avoid potholes by moving over and your windshild wiper fluid contain a winter blend of alcohol to keep it from freezing. I know I have been there and won, and to this day I will pay triple for alcohol free wiper fluid that uses glycerine instead of alcohol to keep the wiper fluid from freezing.

Sorry, I digress, the point is that France has a perfect right to be FRANCE! They joined the EU which we all know is an abortion of a so called nation. What is going on there with the Yellow Vest movement is not so much about French identity as that no nation with an identity can ever satisfy the most stringent demands of 27 different cultures. Do you know that France allowed smoking on their public transportation till the EU said you either ban it today or pay a heavy fine? The French smoke a lot. They did not like this and it was one of their first introductions to the EU.

We are like the EU but instead of 27 nations and 32 cultures we have 50 states and millions of people that are being controlled by a central governement that is so polarized that every four to eight years we have to change our lives.

Let France be France, let California be California, let Romania be Romania and let Texas be Texas, stop both sides left and right from using partisan politics make our lives miserable. Make your home your home. Do not tell me what wattage or type of lightbulbs I can use because Greta is freaking out about man made global warming. There are better and capitalist ways to go about cutting down carbon that does not involve punishing everyone. There are better ways than the nanny state to get to equality. I loved Australia, but could never live in the uber nanny state it has become.

The real problem is the far right GOP has refused to compromise on anything putting their party ahead of national interest. You do not understand that some of what democrats want is not left wing fascism or communism but just common sense and the harder you resist it without compromise the worse it will be for you.

A bit of understanding and compromise today will save you the advent of a Bernie Sanders tomorrow.

But you won't will you? You are going to demand far right politics rather than make things work. So you will end up with America's version of Hugo Chavez. All because you could not be human and take a wider look at what is happening. I hate what happened to Venezuala but the government there was just as right winged and just as adamant that they would never change. The result was EVERYBODY lost, and the lower three quarters were reduced to utter homeless starvation poverty. And it was the rich that did it to them. Now the rich are dead or gone and the whole nation is at poverty, and THAT is our future. Because you have a bone in your teeth and refuse to admit reality. Thank you Mofos. But when the USA ends it will be you who did it to us.

So my analysis is the rich must be exterminated one way or the other before they can do it here as well. Sorry, I know you do not like that, but then I do not like having to spend 50% of my income for a shitty apartment with no money left over for food or anything else after paying the crony capitalists every single cent I can make.

The blame is not on the poor and never has been, it is on the greedy far right that rules through force. And the stupid that support them.

Anda
Anda

Bunch of communists, how miserable they look in their common pantry, cash machine altar and all. Social credit points for mingling there maybe ? The idea of arranging one day apart and knowing everyone else can take (or is taking) a hike has a lot going for it.

In real terms, where a day of the week off is respected, you can feel everything wind down and reset.

"To the European, it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to 'be happy.' But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to 'be happy.'"

Viktor E. Frankl

Greggg
Greggg

We have this same early retirement system going on here in the US for years. It's called police and firefighter pensions. Twenty years service and you can start taking pension payments at age 41 or 42 and move on to career #2. It's the norm here in the US. BTW, we are getting ready to vote with our feet and sell off the house in the suburbs because those pension systems are starting to go bust... the city to our south just levied 9 mils property taxes after voters turned down 2 much smaller millage increases in the last 3 years. Add in a ballot proposal for 2.5 mils for a bus system that runs empty buses 80% of the day, and another 2.1 mils to make the jail more modern for no good reason at all. OMG, suddenly we are gong to be living like the EU... no thanks.

thimk
thimk

most western countries are losing their culture/identity due to liberal immigration laws. France is no different . A few off hour auto cashiers won't change that. The French are; as an old co worker once remarked, "pickin fly s**t out of pepper".

Sechel
Sechel

It's a culture war and while I sympathize its a losing battle. The chain stores invading neighborhoods in America stink compared to the local owner operator neighborhood store but going on strike won't change 'progress' if you can call it such Trying to stop say a Walmart in the U.S. has been a failure.

frozeninthenorth
frozeninthenorth

France's problem make the UK's current Brexit difficulties seem easy. First off, France has no real retirement savings account. Instead, there are a number of IOUs that are to be cashed out...eventually. Needless to say that no one paid attention to all this. Right now one of my brother in laws retired (in France) he got his pension; about 65% of what he expected only 5 years ago. No he filled all the boxes properly, there's imply not enough money!

The reality of France is that it has been uncompetitive for years. You only see French cars in France, because they are too expensive to be exported anywhere else! The stock market is now 80% owned by foreigners -- rich french people saw the writing on the wall years ago (in the time of Mitterand) and emigrated to Belgium (or other unknown points).

The French worker has been led to believe that he has the right to work for 20 years and get a pension for 30 years. He believes that he can work 35 hours a week produce goods that are too expensive, or services that are "behind the curve" and think that this will work out.

The EU experiment has been positive for the French political class because it has delayed the day of reckoning. As long as the Germans are happy to pay, and bond lenders happy to lend, its all good.

abend237-04
abend237-04

The French are being tribal again. Maybe it's something in the wine. They had Julius Caesar dead to rights at Alesia in 52 B.C., but set to squabbling and let him get away. Now, it's the Retirement tribe.

Rvrider
Rvrider

Unionize the machines.

djhowls
djhowls

Nice to see all the Algerians striking.......oh wait


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