By Pierre Secouant-Poing
François Hollande, a man who is no stranger to industrial action, has politely asked the French Unions do not organise any strike action during the Euro 2016 Tournament as it would make him look quite bad.
Of course asking the French not to strike is like asking the French not to breathe. It is in their very nature, at the core of their being. While the English are all apathetic and mostly perfectly tolerant of abusive working conditions, the French will walk out if you change the toilet paper to their dislike. So it seems a bit of a shock that Hollande would be so naive, so stupid and so unFrench as to reveal his hand so early.
What Hollande did not say was “If you strike, Europe will hate you.” What he said was, “This is really important to us, can make us a lot of money and earn us a lot of respect on an international stage. Your government needs this tournament to go well, so no spanners in the works please.” Which is like telling a burglar that you are perfectly okay with their taking your priceless clocks, just don’t look in the third drawer down where you keep your non-sequential unmarked bills to the tune of a million euro and all your untraceable precious metals.
Hollande has not made an impassioned plea to respectful, but somewhat disgruntled workforce. He has told a bunch of people who could have a labour dispute over the number of peas served in the staff cafeteria just how weak of a position he is in, and how desperate he is. He has empowered them. These are disgruntled French workers. These are the same as the now redundant Air France guys who, upon being told the news of their layoffs did not go gentle into that good night, they ripped the damn shirts off the backs of their executives who delivered the news.
I guess what I am trying to say is that François Hollande has the expert negotiation skills of a plucked duck stood on an open fire slathered in hoisin sauce but quacking desperately not to be eaten.