French air-traffic controllers strike

French air-traffic controllers' strike threatens travellers' return to UK

Controllers are due to strike on nine days between next Wednesday and 2 May

I heard a very interesting talk with Charles Handy and he has just published a book called The Second Curve, which sounds very interesting and which addressed this very problem.

James, Lis,

again I am at a bit of a loss as to how you came to this conclusion. Would you feel like this around a dinner table discussion?

Hmm, without a bit of energetic disagreement between adults it surely would be a shame to see debates descend into the bland leading the bland?

Why do they not all resign if things are so bad? They are in a privileged position and it is not as if they are the only people in stressful jobs.

It is the constant striking and total disregard for other people that makes us mad. Perhaps if they took a more reasonable attitude we would too|?


you will get no argument from me on that score, and I think I was probably very lucky to start my working life with companies like ICI, 3M and Courtaulds in London, who I suppose would have been regarded as 'patriarchal' these days. Yes of course management should by definition set and maintain standards, after all it is supposed to be part of what Management used to be.

I recall each of these Companies did subscribe and take note of the old 'suggestion box' idea and did reward those who came up with good ideas. Does this even exist today? 3M was unique in my view by allowing their developers to 'fly kites' and financially support them in the process leading to such innovations as the photocopier, Magic Marker tape, and Post-it notes (which despite rumours to the contrary did not come about by accident but through and extension of the adhesive tapes people). I have no recollection either existence of, or problems with any trade unions in any of these companies.

On the other side no-one was under any illusions as to the value of the Miner's case - but Scargill didn't help at all with his Communist ' bully-boy' tactics. A supreme example of a Trade Union leader not doing his job properly and with zero skills in negotiation - ie the Strike, strike and strike again. This type of confrontational attitude did nothing for the UK Car Industry either. (The what? Still existed in my formulative years) Ditto in Australia where the last car manufacturer has closed following consistent strike and other activities by Trade Unions. When I was involved there no fewer than 1 in 40 of the total population was dependent on the Auto Industry.

Unfortunately, one major problem has been the provision if the title 'Manager' in lieu of a payrise, and which has 'debased the currency' as almost none have seemingly had any training in the role. Plus the 'Peter Principle' is still alive and kicking in all spheres as far as I can judge.

Obviously in a debate like this we tend to over-simplify and talk 'in totalities', but I think the whole work ethic/mentality has changed over the past 30-40 years. To my ancient eyes I see nothing but one simple word 'greed' dominating industry and business generally from all sides.

What DOES surprise me is that even having this one single thing in common doesn't seem to lead to results.

Jane, not a job I know anything about, neither I would guess do you, before we condemn others we should do their job at least for a while. Who knows what the conditions are like and the stress they maybe under. Its a pain when these things happen sure enough but if you were married to a ATC and witnessed what they go through would you take the same line?

I know the French do treat striking like a pastime, maybe they are bad negotiators. It may well be the Gallic attitude I don't know.

Actually, with one notable exception, I think everybody is disagreeing in a very polite, pleasant and civilised way! It's probably the French in me:-)

Hi Norman, no class warrior here either but I did see an extreme of us and them from both sides yet the boss's should by some deed to set standards they and others should behave by. I have viewed the situation from a junior reps point and then on the other side in management and just as bigger children their too. It was a great insight into the then organisation I worked for. My views are also from real world experience and not class prejudice. I sat in on many meetings and the main union man was a great help to the company and pointed out many things that wouldn't work for the company, if they chose to listen or not was up to them but it was good to watch situations unfold. There are always more than one point of view but without unions would workers have enjoyed the benefits or would it be more one sided. Britain has pulled itself up with negotiation, with perhaps the exception of the tube union.

Thanks Lis, exactly what I was going to say.

Dear folks…please can we please, if possible, be nice…another discussion that has gone haywire… :wink:

Jill, you really should engage your brain before opening your mouth if this sort of comment is all you have to offer.

As has hopefully been explained to you there are often multiple reasons why people have problems with your trite answers, many of them physical. Think yourself lucky you have never had to ask for help, or evidently never had to face difficulties others do.


I assume your statement of 'absolute rubbish' is aimed at me, so I will throw a challenge at you.

How long does it take to get from Paris to Naples by train?

How long from Paris to Budapest?

Not exactly the most exotic of destinations?

Plus I really do believe that entering a debate does require a little more than two word contributions.

John, sorry but I am not following your rationale here.

When did the 'bosses' go on strike? Yes of course there are bad management companies, and greedy people everywhere, but to extend a debate on Flight Controllers to encompass the whole world goes a bit far.

However if that is the intention, I won't flinch away from doing it. I could name dozens of well-managed companies who do not fit into the 'one'size fits all' villains so beloved of the 'class warriors' - like you perhaps? But I have a very BIG problem in naming ONE current trade union, except probably those in Germany, who seem to understand what business is all about.

Just to cut off any arguments or comments about my own background, I am not middle-class or even working class by origins, but of the lower-working class from a single-parent family born before the welfare state was even invented in the UK. My views are from a wealth of real-life experience and not class prejudice.

Norman Clark wrote:

" Unions no longer think in terms of 'solidarity' through association, but have the more 'what's in it for me?' mentality. I certainly don't think they have any kind of moral superiority to fall back on"

Yes Norman isn't it terrible when the workers behave just like the management, shame on the workers!

I remember one year the orders were down things were looking bleak so the company offered a "small all they could afford" rise which was begrudgingly accepted after the Union reps explained the system. 4 weeks later a fleet of new Jags arrived as a bonus for management for conning so many workers, Death threats abounded, rumours that the union had been bribed to tell everyone to accept. Next year the militant action took place and then it was "greedy employees" in the local rag.

Jill, you've overstepped yourself there, I think Jane has the right to an apology

Why are you so rude?
I have had breast cancer and a radical mastectomy, that is why one of my arms is weak!
I could ask for assistance, I qualify.
Why are you hiding behind a black square?
Perhaps someone will recognise you.

Give me strength. You lot should get back to the UK I am sure Cameron could find you a job in his cabinet.

Oh god the stresses of life! Do you get someone to take your bag to checkin, and then take off the conveyorat the other end?

Absolute rubbish


well I am quite prepared to think that might be the problem with today's Unionist with no background of what it used to be - not that I liked that any better!