French teachers’ unions call for national strike on 1st February

Against the backdrop of ongoing farming protests and the so-called “Siege of Paris” by members of the country’s agricultural sector, a cross-section of teachers’ unions has called for a nationwide strike to take place on Thursday 1st February. 

Around 40% of the country’s teaching staff – those represented by the Force Ouvrière, FSU, CGT Educ’Action, SE-UNSA, Sud Éducation unions – have been asked to participate in the industrial action, which is being driven by calls for higher wages for all staff, criticism of job cuts in the sector and a fight back against “the implementation of forced reforms”.

The latter reasoning is a reaction to the ‘Shock of Knowledge’ reforms announced by now-Prime Minister Gabriel Attal in his former capacity as Minister for National Education and Youth back in December. 

See more: France asks students and teachers to work harder to bring up school standards and scores

Posts released by various participating unions also note “anger against the new Minister [for Education]”, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, who drew public criticism earlier this month when it was revealed that she had taken her eldest son out of state school and enrolled him in a privately funded establishment. She claimed that the decision had been driven by “lots of teaching hours without a serious replacement” in the absence of a permanent teacher and said that she was “fed up… like hundreds of thousands of families”.  

Heads of schools heavily affected by the planned strike are expected to alert parents of any closures or class cancellations ahead of time. No figures are available yet for schools in the French Riviera, but around 130 establishments in Paris are likely to be shut for the day. In Nice, a protest has been organised by the local teaching unions’ members that will depart Place Garibaldi for the Gare Thiers at 10am.  


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Photo source: Kenny Eliason, Unsplash