Socialist Worker

Corsican strikes shake French ports

by Nick Barrett
Issue No. 1971

French special forces stormed a Corsican ferry last week. Corsican trade unionists had seized control of the ship in protest at the privatisation of the SNCM ferry company.

Docks in Marseille, France, have also been brought to a standstill by strikes, and in the Corsican port of Bastia there have been violent clashes.

SNCM is worth €400 million, but it is being sold for €40 million and the government is subsidising the sale by €113 million. At least 400 jobs will go.

At dawn on Wednesday of last week French troops used military helicopters to take control of the boat, which they then sailed back to the mainland. Striking sailors were handcuffed in the bowels of the ship. Strikers have been threatened with 20 year prison sentences for piracy.

On Saturday 9,000 people took part in a united union protest. The CGT union has promised a long conflict. There are signs of solidarity action in unionised workplaces.

A national day of strike action is also set for Tuesday of this week, called by French unions to protest over jobs and pay.

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Sat 8 Oct 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1971
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