France: Workers battling labor law occupy refineries

first_imgSome 220,000 workers hit the streets May 17, with thousands more on picket lines, blockading fuel depots and occupying refineries in the ongoing battle against the new anti-labor law. The French government used a rarely invoked feature of the French constitution to force the reactionary law through the National Assembly on May 10 without a vote.Over 400,000 workers came out on May 19 to protest the law. These are the sixth and seventh national demonstrations against the regressive labor law in the past two months.The demand of the workers is simple: They want the new labor law completely withdrawn.Six refineries out of eight are occupied, and most fuel depots in the north and west of France are blockaded. Major ports like Nantes-Saint Nazaire and Rouen on strike, with other ports shut down. Truck drivers, who have particular grievances over working conditions, are still out.Even though the workers’ struggles have caused disruptions and aggravations for the population, 70 percent of the people in France still oppose the law, according to the General Confederation of Labor (CGT).The refinery occupations and fuel depot blockades, along with blockades truckers had erected on the roads, have led to major shortages in fuel supplies for cars and trucks. This involves not just gasoline but also diesel fuel, which is used much more in France for both cars and trucks than in the U.S. According to figures as of May 22 from the Ministry of Transportation, 1,612 gas stations out of 12,000 in France are totally or partially dry.Most of the dry gas stations are in the north and west of the country.When Prime Minister Manuel Valls was asked what his government was going to do about fuel running short, he mentioned the 90-day supply the French government keeps in emergency stockpiles. When Alain Vidalies, the secretary of state for transports, was asked about the same problem on May 22 on the main evening news program on French TV2, 20 Heures (Eight O’Clock), he said that before touching the emergency fuel, the government would use “the forces of public order” to clear the blockades, but would stay away from the refineries.Protests throughout FranceThe May 19 protests took place throughout France. In Nantes, the representative of the national government for the area invoked the state of emergency, which has been extended to November, to ban the demonstration scheduled for May 19. Still thousands of people showed up and “played cat-and-mouse with the cops for a few hours, risking six months in jail and a 7,500-Euro fine.” Sixty-six people were arrested. (Agence France Presse, May 20)In Paris, 10 people described as “militants” were prohibited from protesting, but they went to court, and most of them were allowed to join the protest.The seven unions that have been active in fighting this law — the CGT, Workers Force, Unitary Union Federation, Solidarity, National Union of French Students, National High School Union and the Independent and Democratic Federation of High Schools — issued a joint statement May 19 calling for nationally coordinated demonstrations May 26 and a national protest June 14 in Paris. The French Senate is due to deliberate about the new labor law on that day.This union struggle against a law that the French media portray as bringing great benefits to companies operating in France is growing larger and sharper. Though the workers have still failed to shake the government’s refusal to concede, the government is destroying any illusion of French democracy.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

New UL Vice President will focus on broadening research function

first_imgTwitter WhatsApp Print Linkedin Newly appointed UL Vice President Professor Norelee KennedyPhoto: Oisin McHughPROFESSOR Norelee Kennedy, who has been appointed Vice President for Research at the University of Limerick, will be responsible for a main pillar of the new UL Strategic Plan that will be launched in the coming semester.An Associate Professor of Physiotherapy and Head of School of Allied Health at UL, she will take up the new position in January.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up UL President Dr Des Fitzgerald said that research was vital to the future of the University and its importance is now gaining significant attention.“Research and Innovation will also form a main pillar of the new UL Strategic Plan which will be launched in the coming semester,” he stated.Dr Fitzgerald also acknowledged “the superb work of the outgoing Vice President Dr Mary Shire who completed two very successful terms in this role and led the Research function with distinction”.Prof Kennedy has worked as an academic in UL for over 14 years and as Head of School of Allied Health for five years. The Tipperary native graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BSc Physiotherapy in 1999 and a PhD in 2004. Her research focuses on focuses on inflammatory arthritis and physical activity in exercise.Stating that she was honoured to be taking on her new role, she said that, as an academic in UL for the last 14 years, she was very proud of UL and the research that was done there.“It is such an exciting opportunity to look at the next phase of research for UL. We have an excellent base in what we are doing in our research here and I think there are opportunities to look at new ways of bringing people together to work in interdisciplinary ways.“My vision is that we will continue to ensure that research we engage with has excellent impact and value for the communities and the people that we work with and the research partners we engage with,” she added.The Vice President, Research (VPR) at UL is a member of the Executive Committee with responsibility for Research Support Services and the Technology Transfer Office.They are responsible for the Research affairs of the University, including research support services, related enterprise and commercialisation of UL’s research.Reporting to the President, the VPR also has a key role in the overall leadership and strategic management of the University. Previous articleMinister needs to act urgently in relation to better EU Connectivity for Shannon AirportNext articleLimerick’s economic recovery resonates in California Staff Reporter Facebook Limerick on Covid watch list Limerick social entrepreneurs honoured for their work in response to covid-19 Advertisementcenter_img Limerick Post Show | Careers & Health Sciences Event for TY Students TechPost | Episode 9 | Pay with Google, WAZE – the new Google Maps? and Speak don’t Type! NewsEducationNew UL Vice President will focus on broadening research functionBy Staff Reporter – July 30, 2019 519 Email Housing 37 Compulsory Purchase Orders issued as council takes action on derelict sites TAGSeducationLimerick City and CountyNewsULUniversityUniversity of Limerick RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Shannon Airport braced for a devastating blowlast_img read more