And so it happens that yet another week went past with the headlines dominated by reports on the tension surrounding the new pension reforms, lady Gaga cancellations and that was pretty much all that the news talked about. And for good reason, as the week progressed , the tenor of protests took on a violent tone- students jumped into the fray, transport networks were thrown into chaos. Fuel supplies cut off. Quite a week!
Yet, if you were going about your business, around the centre of Paris, there was little evidence of a crippling strike underway. If none of your kids (oif you do have are in one of the striking school, and if your route to and from work is pretty predictable – transport systems within PAris worked predictably, and there was not really much evidence of ordinary Parisans being brought to their knees by the strike.
The impact seemed to be carefully targeted at key national structures, with a clear objective to sent the message straight to the top. OF course, as the week progressed there were also several reported incidents of violent protestors burning cars for example, and targeting unsuspecting, hapless citizens – but on balance, what seems to have been the broader goal of powerful labour unions was to cripple key, strategic sectors of the economy – and bring the French government to the bargaining table.
WIth legislation passed, one would be blamed for assuming that protestors would have to necessarily acknowledge that they have lost this particular war and gear up to work an extra two years. After all, it would mean that the government would be better placed to generate more income into its pension fund piggy bank, while cutting the deficit which is burdened by debt and a pension program that will be extremely burdened with a growing aging population. One would be blamed for imagining that perhaps the French protestors would see working longer and doing their bit to leave a legacy for their kids and grand kids. But, the plan os to up the ante and protest more strongly next week. Perhaps that’s when we’ll get to witness the effects ore starkly in the centre of Paris
For now though, life goes on in Paris. There are still the quintessential and annoying tourists everywhere you turn, and beautifully for October – the sun comes out to shine and give us its of summer when autumn should be in full swing. The chatter around pension reform is distant from day to day life in Paris. It’s a beautiful autumn, there is not much disruption to city life – life goes on!