Indeed, many Europeans are striking, as in strikingly beautiful.
Many French, however, are striking. As in not going to work to protest against their job and vacation conditions.
On my way to school today I saw an abnormally large amount of people at certain bus stops. Frank, the man who drives me to school, said that the strikes have been starting up again, beginning from today.
I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard people talking about their plans getting derailed because of rail strikes, or not being able to get to school because of bus strikes. Some hospitals even had nurse strikes and resulted in many patients unable to be treated at the first minute. When I was in Lyon during the vacation and planning on taking the train into the city the next day, I was warned to check online and make sure that I won’t get stuck in the city because of canceled trains. This weekend I will be going to Strasbourg for a quick afternoon visit with a friend, and he told me that rail strikes have been causing trouble for many commuters, and fortunately the train type we are going to take is the only type that won’t be affected.
As I remarked that French people seem to lance a lot of strikes, Frank agreed with me and replied that this might just become a French characteristic.
“These are French people. You see, we are never truly satisfied.”
I don’t know what their work conditions are like, so I cannot give my opinion on if I think they should be protesting or not. However, what I do know is that many of them claim that they do not have enough vacations. This surprises me though, because as a Taiwanese high schooler in France for a year of exchange, I find that they have tons of holidays. They have two weeks of vacation approximately every six to seven school weeks. They also have several days in a year where people don’t need to work or go to school. We call these days “fériés”, which in fact means holiday. These dates are mostly history and religion related. World Wars, Christianity… There is also Labor Day, which pays tribute to the working class, and it actually includes teachers, which is not the condition in Taiwan (Teachers have to work on Labor Day, so students can go to school, which I find to be extremely absurd). On days like these, all the shops and malls are closed and people can really get some rest.
At least, for students in France, I find the vacations to be sufficient. For the working class, there may be more things they want to change. That’s why there are strikes all year round.
來到法國之後時不時聽到罷工的消息，影響了眾人。有些人的週末行程因為鐵道罷工而必須取消，有些人因為公車司機罷工而沒辦法上學上班，甚至有病人因為醫院的罷工而無法在第一時間接受治療。還記得放假期間在里昂近郊，打算隔天搭火車到市中心，被提醒要上網查詢罷工的時刻表還有波及範圍，小心不要被困在里昂市區了。這週末要和朋友一起去史特拉斯堡轉一圈，他和我說，我們很幸運，因為只有我們這週末要搭的火車型號 TER 不會被接下來的罷工行動影響到。