I oppose unions. Or, to speak more precisely, I oppose those tactics too often used by unions intended to render societies hostage to their demands — as we’re seeing in France.
For the last few months, a series of strikes has been conducted by various unionized workers in protest of reforms proposed by President Emmanuel Macron. Rail workers are a major focus of the fracas.
Ultimately SNCF, France’s state-owned railway company, should be privatized. But reducing too-generous pay and benefits, including automatic annual pay raises, is a step in the right direction. The Macron administration hopes to begin opening up the state railways to competition by 2023. The unions and their allies are willing to cripple the French economy to prevent any reforms.
It’s fine for employees to voluntarily get together to ask for better working conditions, or even to go on strike to protest terms of employment they regard as unfair. It’s fine, that is, if they also understand that employers have an equal right to replace them if willing and able to do so.
Workers should only peacefully petition employers. Nobody has an inalienable right to a particular job or to a particular wage higher than they can voluntarily negotiate.
According to the BBC, “Just over 11% of the French workforce is unionised,” one of the lowest levels in the EU. May the decline there and everywhere accelerate until unions cease bullying the entire French society, or any society.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.