For the second time in a month, Paris is preparing to be paralysed by strikes, as transport workers and other civil servants take industrial action in protest to President Sarkozy's proposed special pension regime reforms. Once again, millions of people will struggle to get to work with less than one in ten metros, RERs and buses running, many forced to take a day's leave, in some cases unpaid.
The fact that the strikers have less and less support in France doesn't seem to bother them and it's hard to see how further action would help garner support from the general public, who largely see them as the cossetted teacher's pets of the country, currently able to retire early on a comparatively large pension which dates form the days when train drivers spent long hours shovelling coal and working in conditions which harmed their health and reduced their life expectancy. As part of Sarko's bid to streamline a cumbersome state he is starting with the civil service, which costs the tax payer an inordinate amount of money each year. As tax payers, we are wondering why we should pay for the early, comfortable retirement of the people who are currently unwilling to provide the basic service for which they are paid, clogging the streets with traffic as Parisians desert public transport and take to the road, leaving little room for priority vehicles like the emergency services, not to mention ruining people's dinner plans.
I could go on. I won't, I will show you my strike survival kit from etsy.
When trapped in an overcrowded metro carriage with your head in someone's armpit zoning out with your ipod is a must. Make sure it looks indie-stylish, like this one, from peepbags:
If you find yourself shivering on a suburban platform waiting for a train that is unlikely to come, you will need a warm scarf. Try Suzannie:
Stuck in a traffic jam with three colleagues you barely speak to at the best of times, advertise your shop as you go, with a car banner from ceejay77:
And if like me, you walk to work and are set to spend days on your own in the office while everyone else works from home on the sofa, then make sure you have a plentiful supply of tea, in a lovely mug from magicforestcreations: