Pension reform: why do strikes often fall on Tuesdays and Thursdays?

Unsurprisingly, the choice of the next mobilization against the pension reform fell on a Tuesday, January 31. The first day of demonstration had taken place Thursday, January 19. Nothing very surprising: in general, calls for mobilization are concentrated on these two days of the week.

“The choice of the day of a mobilization is always the subject of discussions between the various stakeholders”, indicates the CGT. Why are Tuesdays and Thursdays preferred to other days by trade unions? Simply for the sake of efficiency. “These are the times when you can bring together the most people”, underlines Stéphane Sirot, historian, specialist in the sociology of strikes and trade unionism.

Mondays, in fact, are ruled out. Some employees may ask this day to take advantage of a long weekend. In addition, a sort of “arms vigil” is generally held before a day of mobilization, in order to organize, for example, the security service that will accompany the demonstration. However, union officials “are not going to meet on a Sunday to refine the last points”, points out Stéphane Sirot.

Wednesday, children’s day

Why not on a Wednesday? It would be taking the risk of “depriving yourself of some of the people who would have come on a Tuesday or a Thursday”, notes the historian. Many employees indeed take their day – or half-day – from Wednesday, to take care of their children who do not have school.

Like Mondays, Fridays are too close to the weekend. Many employees take the opportunity to take an RTT and thus benefit from a three-day rest.

Another element plays against Friday, indicates Stéphane Sirot: the renewability strikes. “If a renewable strike starts on a Friday and we put a day of action on the following Monday, people who work in the public service will have four days’ wages withdrawn, because the administration considers that they are on strike over the whole period. In order not to exhaust the finances of the strikers, “the unions are therefore careful not to organize the conflicts on a Friday”.

“Demonstrating on weekends is not trade unionism”

And the weekends? “It has already been done, recognizes the historian. But for the trade unions, it is not just the demonstration that is part of the conflict. The strike, ie the cessation of working time, is also a major tool for demonstrating the balance of power. In their eyes, demonstrating on weekends is not trade unionism. »

Mobilizations on weekends are rather led by politicians, notes Stéphane Sirot. This was particularly the case this Saturday, January 21, with the march against the pension reform organized by a dozen youth organizations and supported by La France insoumise by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

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