||Issue No. 284||07 October 2005|
Age of Consent
Interview: Under Fire
Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Economics: The Common Wealth
History: Walking for Justice
International: Deja Vu
Legal: The Rights Stuff
Review: That Cinderella Fella
Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
The Locker Room
Make Ads Not Law
Nice One, Workers!
Dog Eat Dog
Seafarers Scupper Sell Off
Armed French military personnel stormed the fPascal Paoli in Marseilles on September 27 after 30 union members took charge of the vessel, owned by the government run Corsica-Mediterranean shipping company SNCM.
All 30 seafarers were arrested and subsequently released.
Another two SNCM ferries, the Mediterrannée and the Napoléon Bonaparte, were prevented from leaving the port of Marseilles on 20 September.
Marseilles port workers carried out solidarity action in support of the seafarers, preventing 40 vessels from sailing.
The actions have led to the French government backing down over plans to privatise the SNCM company.
The French government was planning to sell off SNCM to investment company Butler Capital Partners. The unions - French ITF affiliate Fédération Nationale des Syndicats Maritimes CGT and the Corsican Syndicat des Travailleurs Corses - claim that some 300 to 400 redundancies would result from the sale.
"We oppose the privatisation of SNCM pure and simple. We also condemn the aggression perpetrated by the law enforcement agencies and the army on Pascal Paoli," commented Yves Reynaud, ITF inspector for the Fédération
Générale des Transports et de l'Equipement CFDT.
However, the government is now stating that a wholesale sell-off is no longer on the cards; instead, it plans to hold on to 25 per cent of the company, with 67 per cent going to Butler Capital and its competitor Veolia-Connex, and eight per cent to workers.
Backed by a number of other unions, including ITF affiliates the Fédération Générale des Transports et de l'Equipement CFDT and the Fédération FO de l'Equipement, de l'Environnement, des Transports et des Services, the CGT
union confederation is insisting that the government retain a majority shareholding.
Negotiations on the future of the company are continuing.
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