here’s what to know if you get out of hand

The pension reform proposed by the government on January 10, 2023 did not pass. The eight major trade unions (CFDT, CGT, FO, CFE-CGC, CFTC, Unsa, Solidaires, FSU), unanimously against major reforms of Emmanuel Macron’s program for his second five-year term, called for the first day of strikes and demonstrations, Thursday, 19 January. But by the way, who can strike? Should I tell my employer? When ? Here’s what you need to know.

Who can attack? And who can’t?

The right to strike is enshrined in Constitution Ve Republic. “The right to strike is exercised within the framework of the law governing it”, read paragraph 7 of the preamble. Therefore, any employee of the company, private sector or public sector, can exercise their right to strike.

On the other hand, some public officials do not have the right to strike because of their obligation to guarantee the continuity of public services. Concerned: military; police, republican police and security company (CRS); the judges; prison guards and communications personnel from the Ministry of Interior (“responsible for the proper functioning of IT devices, monitoring, and data storage”, can be read on the website

For other professions, it is not always easy to mobilize. And for good reason, some people “benefit from the limited right to strike and have to provide a minimum service due to their particular organization such as air traffic controllers, public audiovisual sector employees, transport, nuclear sector or even hospital staff”.

The same for certain public services such as household waste collection and treatment, assistance to the elderly and disabled, crèches, after-school care or even collective and school catering. Why ? Enough for service organizations to ensure continuity.

Who should be notified? And what’s the deadline?

It is important to distinguish private sector employees from public sector employees. If you work in the private sector and wish to exercise your right to strike, there is no need to give notice. Exceptions are made for private companies responsible for public services (passenger transport, for example).

In the same way, you don’t have to honor the notification period before initiating a strike. You may therefore decide, the day before for the next, to mobilize against pension reform, Thursday, January 19th. If an employee who is striking in the private sector is not required to notify his employer, there is nothing to prevent him from doing so orally or via email. “The employer must however be aware of the professional demands of the workers at the time the strike begins”, explain Public Service.

On the other hand, if you work in the public sector, the strike must take place “preceded by five days’ notice in which trade union representatives and the employer’s administration are required to negotiate”, we explain in Vie-publique. The notification must specify the reasons for the strike, its geographic scope, start time and duration, whether limited or not, of the planned mobilization.

When strike notices are given in certain public services (collection and treatment of household waste, assistance to the elderly and disabled, crèches, after-school care and collective and school catering), agents must notify the administration of their intention to be taken to the streets. , or not, at least 48 hours in advance. “This 48 hour period must cover at least one working day”, said the Interior Ministry.

In order to guarantee a minimum admissions service for students in kindergartens and primary schools, teachers must inform their administration in advance of their intention to strike. Therefore, schoolteachers have until Monday to declare themselves on strike against pension reforms. Snuipp-FSU, the first primary school union, estimates that 70% of primary school teachers will go on strike by January 19. At the second level (college and secondary school), teachers are not required to declare themselves strikers before the deadline, it shows Parisian .

Also read: January 19 strike against pension reform: what to expect?

Remuneration, sanctions… What are the consequences of work for a striker?

If a strike suspends an employment contract, it does not violate it. Therefore, it is not possible to sanction or terminate an employee if he mobilizes. Except in cases of negligence of the employee if he commits illegal acts “such as the use of violence against company staff or management”describes the Department of Legal Information and Administration (DILA).

Regarding the wages of employees who strike, the deduction must be proportional to the length of time they stop working. However, in PNS salary deductions may not be less than 1/30e monthly salary (i.e. one day of work). Also note that according to article R3243-4 of the Labor Code, “it is forbidden to mention on the pay slip the exercise of the right to strike or the activities of workers’ representatives”.

Lastly, whether you are in the public or private sector, you can go on strike for just an hour or an entire day as there is no minimum or maximum legal duration.

However, in both cases, the striker must respect the work of the non-striking employee. “If strikers hinder non-strikers from working (by blocking access to work tools or damaging equipment), they are subject to sanctions”, continue Public Life.

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