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Strikes in France – French Story + English Translation

Camille Chevalier-Karfis By Camille Chevalier-Karfis - updated on Jul 16, 2020
french strike vocabulary

Practice your French strike vocabulary with this free French story with hide and reveal English translation about the 2018 transportation strikes in France.

And now, let’s see the French strike vocabulary being used within a story.

This bilingual story was written on November 12, 2018 by French immersion teacher & host Chantal, who lives in Picardie, near Paris.

1 – Strikes in France

Use the floating blue icon in the bottom right to hide/reveal the English translations below.

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Les grèves recommencent en France ! Eh oui, chaque année nous devons affronter plusieurs grèves mais celle-ci va être longue !!

Strikes are starting again in France! Yes, each year we must face several strikes but this one will be long!

Pourquoi y a-t-il des grèves en ce moment ?

Why are there strikes now (November 2018)?

C’est parce que le gouvernement Macron veut changer certaines choses à la SCNF mais les syndicats et les employés ne sont pas d’accord.

It’s because the government wants to change some things at the SNCF but the unions and the employees don’t agree.

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2 – The 2018 Reform

Qu’est-ce que le gouvernement veut changer ?

What does the government want to change?

Le premier point de la réforme veut modifier le statut des « cheminots ». Les cheminots sont les personnes qui travaillent pour la SNCF (les conducteurs, les contrôleurs etc…). Le statut des cheminots a été créé au temps des premières locomotives à charbon. Leur travail était très pénible à ce moment-là. C’est pour ça que les cheminots peuvent partir beaucoup plus tôt à la retraite (entre 50 et 52 ans pour les conducteurs et 57 pour les autres employés). Mais le gouvernement dit que ce n’est plus un travail difficile et qu’ils doivent travailler plus longtemps.

The first point of the reform wants to change the status of the “cheminot”. The “cheminots” are the persons who are working for the SNCF (the train conductor, the controllers etc…). The status of the train workers was created at the time of the first coal locomotives. Their work was very hard at that time. That’s why the “cheminots” can retire much earlier (between 50 and 52 years old for conductors and 57 for the other employees). But the government says that It’s no hard work anymore and that they must work longer.

Bien-sûr, les employés pensent que c’est toujours un travail difficile parce qu’ils doivent travailler parfois loin de chez eux et aussi parce qu’ils doivent travailler le week-end et la nuit pour certains.

The employees think of course that it’s still a painful work because they sometime must work far from home and because they also must work in the week-end and at night for some of them.

Le deuxième point de la réforme veut introduire des capitaux privés à la SCNF, car le fonctionnement de la SCNF coûte très cher à l’Etat.

The second point of the reform wants to introduce some private capital in the SNCF, because the running of the SNCF costs a lot.

Les employés sont contre car ce serait la fin de leur statut de fonctionnaires et il n’y aurait donc plus de garantie de Service Publique. L’idée de Service Publique est très importante en France. Les gens pensent que l’Etat est le meilleur garant des choses essentielles comme l’hôpital, les transports, l’école etc.

Employees are against that because it would be the end of their functionary’s status and there would be no security of a Public Service. The idea of a “Service Publique” is very important in France. People think that the government is the best guarantor for essential things like hospital, transport, school etc.

Les négociations sont très difficiles car personne ne veut céder.

Negotiation are very difficult because no one wants to surrender!

Mais il faut positiver!

But we have to be positive!

Donc entre-temps, les Français s’organisent. Ils prennent plus souvent le bus et font aussi plus de co-voiturage. Peut-être que cela encouragera aussi les entreprises à proposer plus de télétravail ! Ce serait bien !

So in between, The French are getting organized. More often they take the bus and they do more carpooling. Also, this will maybe encourage companies to offer more teleworking! It would be great!

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