Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Having A Smashing Time, Wish You Were Here …

As I write this (yup, one of those crass opening lines I'm afraid), hundreds of jobs are smashing up the French capital objecting, apparently, to the new CPE law passed by the French government. But they're nothing more than little hoolie-wankers breaking everything and anything they can find - not even part of the student movement who stand against this new law.

I won't go into the finer details of this new law as you can find everything you want from Google (just type in 'CPE + Paris' into the search box and you'll find reams of explanations). What I hope to offer is a radical solution to the French government - something, I believe, will rid them of this on-going violence and take the heat off of the Prime Minister.

But firstly, let's look at the dear garlic munchers:

Under French law, public sector employees (10% of the population) and government staffers, work a 35 hour week (the legal maximum being 43.4). In the UK, the average working week for the full-timer is 43.2hrs with 45.4 in Poland.

When it comes to being absent (sick note please Mummy), the UK claims the lowest in Europe with 15.5% but dear France rockets into 2nd place with a whopping 26.4%

French holidays (not under the absentee department) can be quite unreal - there are some employees who receive 11 weeks paid leave although the average is 9. However, if you're in the UK and work 5 days a week, you can expect to receive a meagre 20 days holiday a year.

The biggest gripe that is doing the rounds about this new law is that it allows employers to hire and fire first-time employees at will, until said employee reaches the age of 26. Seeing as most youngsters stay in full-time education until they reach the age of 25 and (more often then not) live at home, then I really don't see the problem.

Holy shit, I sleep an average of 6 hours a night, each night of the week. That gives me a total of 42hrs kip … 7 hours longer an the average French public sector employee works in a week! I am sure that it is still possible to die at your post in France and still pick up a weekly pay-cheque … and then there's the handsome state pension …

So, to the solution:

The French believe that expelling bodily wind in public is disgusting but we, the Brits, have built an entire culture on it. We happen to find it amusing but the French will not hear of it. So, if only our Gaullist cousins were encouraged to 'rip one off' from time to time, there would be more laughing and, therefore, less public tension. A good 'botty-burp' will, more often than not, impress your friends and allow you to climb the social ladder in a more unconventional manner.

If these bloody students want it tough, then go and live in the UK. You have to survive there. No nanny-state, paying for your every need through the nose. No 'jobs for life'. Getting fired is an occupational hazard - work hard and you‘ll get by. Wake up and smell the espresso, Jean-Claude - you invented the Socialist state - so deal with change or prepare to be bypassed.

Student movements and the trade unions called for a day of 'General Strikes' yesterday. For a young Brit in the 1970's, I remember the 3-day week. Electricity was only on for 72 hours out of 168, we were wrapped up in blankets to keep warm, the house was lit by candlelight, bread disappeared from the shelves and there were nation-wide food queues. Now that was a strike.

In reality, yesterday's 'General Strike' saw 2 out of 3 trains running.

Strike? Give us a break France.



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