The last strike in the Marseilles' port, leads to a conclusion that with all the democracy and the liberalization, France has no law to handle bullies.
After 2 weeks of strike, when a huge line of oil tankers are sieging Marseille, the strike was over. Strikes like this happens only in my homeland, Israel. However in Israel there is a Labor Court that was designed to handle disputes between labors and employers, in any level. It is true that sometimes the worker unions ignore this court decisions, however, this will lead to immediate appeal to the actual court system, and over there the decisions are not to be avoided.
In France, There is no rule, no law that can force the unions not to strike. The reason to the strike does not matter, when the unions decide to strike nobody can stop them and as there is no court to handle the dispute and get the two sides to the negotiation table, this actually means that the strongest will win, and thats not economy that fight to death.
Marseilles' harbor has been one of the main commercial ports in Europe however the complete control of the union and constant strikes made many companies to by pass it and move to Spain, or Italy. Only the oil tankers kept coming due to the facilities designed especially for this in this specific port.
The damage has been done, the result for the local economy and the city itself were destructive but the unions are still playing the games, and they will probably keep on playing it as long as they are strong, as there is nobody to prevent it.
In France no court can interfere with a strike. The suffering companies themselves cannot break a strike by replacing the manpower. It sound heaven ? No its a hell, because the reason to any strike is not important anymore. No company owner can go to court, neither to file a complain, nor to force negotiation, and certainly not to force the workers to get back to work. I am not sure that the court has no authority, as nobody was able to answer this question. People learn to suffer, not to complain. Politician are keeping away from this issue like fire, They do not want to take any risk. And nobody bother to ask: “How come everybody with a little power in his hand is using it, how come people spit down the well they drink from and nobody shut it down”.
The weired thing is that the actual numbers of the registered unions members are not really much, however there is one law in France and its the law of the union and nobody have the power or the will to do something.
Oh yes the people complain that all the strikes are being done over their back. People mutter a a curse here and a curse there, but instead of forcing the candidates for presidency to deal with this subject they simply keep on messing with, hundreds of environmental issues, foreign policy in remote places they cannot do anything about, but never with the real problem.
Citizens of France learned to suffer and live with the strikes, that in most cases are a matter of management policy rather then a labor problem. A good example is the tramway that is under construction in Marseille. The mayor of the city decided that the tramway operation will be given to a private company rather then the RTM that operate the current bus system and the metro in the city. A good reason is behind it. A single strike in Marseilles' public transportation system is currently eliminating the ability to move from one place to another, so the mayor logically decided to eliminate this risk by adding another player to this game. The workers of RTM immediately went on strike and proved the mayor decision to be smart. What did they really wanted ? After all no matter who will operate the tramway there will be more positions open. The existing workers of the RTM will still have their job. So what do they really wanted ? They wanted to show that they are strong, and they are strong now. But they will not be that strong later when a second company will start running part of the local transportation system . So the mayor was right. However this strike is a hell for the citizens, and has no real justification. And there is nobody in France that has the guts, the brain or the balls to put an end to this bullying of the unions.
I have seen many politicians and there are so many candidates to the presidency, and none of them will dare to threat the elimination of the unions. Marseilles has already suffered the massive damage of the power games in the harbor, and the citizens of France are living in this for many years. But their politicians ? The prefer to deal with the peace in the middle east, where they cannot be harmed (they cannot do any good either).