What Parisians Are Talking About This Week, June 18, 2014

June 18, 2014By Heidi EllisonTales of la Ville

Strikes, the Baccalaureate,
Actors’ Livelihoods

Train strike Today is the eighth day of a strike by some 14 percent of French railway workers, the longest action since 2010. They are protesting a proposal to open the SNCF, the French railway network, to competition. For once, French commuters are fed up. Polls show that some three-quarters of the population is against the strike, not the least because because many students are having problems getting to the crucial baccalaureate exams for which they study so hard.

No Festival d’Avignon? The prestigious and popular Avignon theater festival, held in the Provençal city during the month of July, is one of many summer festivals under threat this year from another strike, that of the intermittents du spectacle, or art and entertainment workers, who are upset about another proposal that would change the special unemployment benefits they receive to help compensate for the instability of their work. If the change goes through, will we be seeing more actors working as servers in restaurants? I think I’d rather pay higher taxes to keep them on the stage where they belong and leave restaurant service to the professionals.

Bac leaks Speaking of the baccalaureate exams, leaks on Twitter of the top-secret subjects of some of the exams have led some observers, notably the Nouvel Observateur, to question the value of these exams, which cost the French state €1.5 billion in the smartphone era.

Heidi Ellison

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