Saturday, 11 December 2010

Manifestation – even Rigsby is revolting

It has been a difficult year for the French Government and for Mr Sarkozy in particular. The latest news is that he wanted small in stature body guards for a foreign visit to India and this bears out once again the fact that he is very conscious of his small stature. If he had lived even 50 years ago he would have been above the average height of 5 ft 3 inches, but now his 5 ft 5 inch height (1 inch shorter than Napoleon) leaves him 2 inches below average. This really should not matter as everyone knows that performance is more important than size.
The government’s performance regarding the primary education system has always been controversial. A few years ago the school week was reduced from 4 and a half days, to 4 days. This has lead to increasing discontent as the long school days are tiring the children out, and their performance is suffering as a result.
The schools appoint people to accompany children with disabilities during 20 (I believe) of their hours at school. These contracts used to be for 6 years, now the maximum contract is for 2 years, divided into parcels of 6 months, 9 months, and then a final 9 months. There is no job security and you can be made redundant at the end of any parcel of months.
There are also people like me as admin support, on similar contracts. The government decided to cut the admin posts and many disability support posts to save money.
Fortunately in my department they did not cancel any contracts, they just didn’t replace anyone whose contract had reached the end of their 6 or 2 year term.
The EVS, AVS and Directors/ Directrices of the region were invited to a meeting to discuss the situation, so you might expect that at least 180 people might turn up.
I was one of 19 people who attended. Of those at least 6 were Syndicat (union) officials. One was a directrice, and the rest were people coming to the end of a 6 year contract.
Part having your contract renewed (of course filling in forms, signing multiple copies of renewed contract in advance) is having taken part in training and having some kind of project. This is difficult for an admin assistant. It’s okay if you don’t know how to use a computer, there are courses. It seems that most of the courses on offer are deleted or cancelled, so it is difficult to meet any training requirement.
Even better is that no travelling expenses are paid to attend the training.
People complained about the chaos of their management and the rudeness of the staff managing their contracts.
The next part of the morning was a “march” to the Prefecture. People drifted off and only about 10 of us remained. We set off, impeding the traffic in the narrow streets. We then stood on the pavement and in the road outside the prefecture, while reporters poked their micros at the various union officials, someone took some video footage and two reporters took some photos. Our numbers had swelled again counting the 7 reporters, we must have been around 20 or so. I thought that we had demanded an audience with some educational bigwig, but after 30 minutes of standing around, I followed the example of several others and drifted off into the sunshine. Here is a link to the Depeche article with a photo containing Rigsby himself. If you click on the photo it will enlarge to see me better.

Getting back to the president, described in a recent Wiki leak as “thin skinned and authoritarian personal style” and “an emperor with no clothes” he does himself no favours by allegedly appearing drunk at a television conference during the recent G8 summit.

I think that he is just a bit out of breath myself.

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