Strikes against the pension reform: How do the “strike funds” work?

Strikes against the pension reform: How do the “strike funds” work?

While this is the sixth time opponents of pension reforms have demonstrated, the strike funds appear to have a key role to play in continuing these mobilizations

The strikers’ financial shield

If you go on strike, you can hope for concessions from employers, but those strike days are never paid. After a few days, this puts a significant strain on the strikers’ wallets and, at first glance, calls for more money. The latter is the nerve of the strike. To solve this problem, the unions have set up strike funds, allowing them to ‘bail out’ the strikers’ portfolios, thus prolonging the movement to get their demands through.

These strike funds are also used to pay for protesters’ banners or even food to support mobilization efforts. Strike money can be financed in many ways, currently it is online pots, solidarity funds, goodie sales or stream marathons on Switch that can finance these funds. Anyone can contribute, including employees who support the movement without being able to stop for lack of income.

“For the employee who goes on strike, there are always losses”

A trade unionist, in Miramas near Marseille. TF1 info.

To date, the budget for 2023 at the CFDT is €1 million, according to Jean-Michel Rousseau, head of the fund, which also manages legal action. “We have a reserve of 140 million euros that everyone is talking about, which you could draw on if necessary,” he adds. This exists thanks to the members who contribute for more than fifty years. However, you should know that redistributing this fund would amount to 7.70 euros per hour not worked for each member, which is far from compensating for the income of a full day’s work. For its part, the CGT has reactivated a “CGT Mobilization Solidarity Kitty” launched in 2020 on Leetchi, showing 580,000 euros.

An old phenomenon on the rise

The strike fund has been booming since December. After Le figaro, there are no fewer than 400. This phenomenon is gaining momentum with the advent of digital technology. For example, rebellious France has started an online marathon with a wide range of content on Twitch behind the hashtag “#GrevEvent” and has already collected over 330,000 euros. This kitten will therefore be “donated entirely to the fund of the mobilized strikers”.

However, this phenomenon is not new as these strike funds date back to the 19th century. In fact, this phenomenon “almost as old as the strike itself” arose between 1831 and 1834 among the Lyon Canuts, who had mobilized to create a “strike aid” that is the ancestor of the strike funds. Before that, the few farmers who demonstrated often had their plots, which they tilled and fed. But with urbanization and the transformation of the working class, these means have become as necessary as they are essential to the prolongation of a mobilization.

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