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French Strike Vocabulary

Camille Chevalier-Karfis By Camille Chevalier-Karfis - updated on Jan 6, 2021
french strike vocabulary

France is infamous for its numerous strikes. But what is the French strike vocabulary?

This French strike vocabulary may come handy when you listen to the French radio, or read news about strikes in France.

In this article you’ll find a list of French English strike vocabulary, as well as useful informations about strikes in France.

1 – French Strike Vocabulary

  1. Une grève – a strike – strangely, it’s also a fancy word for a shore (usually, we say “une plage” – a beach)
  2. Les grèves – strikes
  3. Une grève générale – a strike followed by most unions around the same claims
  4. Une grève surprise – Strikers are supposed to give a notice before they strike in France. It’s not always the case though.
  5. Une grève sauvage – a strike organised by the workers without the unions
  6. Faire la grève – to be on strike
  7. Être en grève – to be on strike
  8. Un / une gréviste – someone who is on strike (note the change of direction of the accent over the “e”)
  9. Un piquet de grève – someone who takes a stand and blocks the entry to a workplace / tries to block the working process
  10. Le droit de grève – the right to be on strike
  11. Un préavis de grève – strike notice (French public sector unions must give 5 days notice before going on strike)

2 – Strikes in France – Unions

  1. Un syndicat – union
  2. Un représentant, un élu syndical – union representative
  3. Un délégué – a delegate
  4. Une action sociale – solidarity measures
  5. Le dialogue social – social dialog
  6. Résoudre un conflit – to solve a conflict
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3 – French Protest Vocabulary

  1. Une manifestation – a demonstration, protest march
  2. Une manif – say the f – slang for “manifestation”
  3. Un manifestant, une manifestante – someone who walks in a protest
  4. Un défilé, un cortège – an organised walk
  5. Une opération escargot – a French expression describing a sort of protest when trucks block the highways by driving on all the lanes and very slowly.

4 – French Strike Police

  1. Les CRS – “Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité” – police specialised in crowd control
  2. “CRS : SS” – a very famous slogan that is often heard during demonstrations and strikes in France
  3. Les forces de l’ordre – police
  4. La police – police
  5. Un policier, une policière – police officer
  6. Un casseur – slang – someone looking for trouble in a riot, literally “breakers”
  7. Séquester – to hold captive
  8. Prendre en otage – to take as an hostage

5 – French Strikes – Workers and Employers

  1. Un travailleur, une travailleuse – a worker
  2. Un ouvrier / une ouvrière – a blue-collar worker
  3. Un employé / une employée – a white-collar worker
  4. Un emploi – a job
  5. Un boulot – a job (slang)
  6. Travailler – to work
  7. Bosser – to work (slang)
  8. Un patron – a boss (often used in factories)
  9. Un boss – a boss (yes the French often use the English word)
  10. Un employeur – a job provider, boss

6 – French Strikes Claims

  1. Un salaire – a salary
  2. Une indémnité, une indémnisation  – compensation
  3. Les avantages sociaux – benefits
  4. Les conditions de travail – work environment / conditions
  5. La retraite – retirement
  6. Les heures supplémentaires – overtime
  7. Les congés payés – paid leave
  8. Une revendication – demand, claim
  9. La précarité de l’emploi – job insecurity
  10. Un licenciement – layoff
  11. La compression de personnel – staff reduction
  12. Le chômage – unemployment
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Can You Understand Today’s Spoken French?

It’s not just slang. The French everybody speaks in France today is NOT the overly enunciated, extremely formal French usually taught to foreigners.