In France, Corona is becoming a social explosive

Who has to go to work, who can work at home? This question leads to growing conflicts in French companies. Macron calls for production not to be shut down and demands wage surcharges for those physically present.

On Wednesday in Paris: Metro security officers also have to continue working.

PPresident Emmanuel Macron knew why he made an urgent appeal for the solidarity of the French in his televised address at the beginning of the week. “Let us rise up individually and collectively to be up to date with the demands of the moment. I know, dear compatriots, that I can count on you, ”he announced. Macron can rely on staff in French healthcare and many other areas who go about their business every day. However, tensions are rising in some sectors because of the growing fear of contagion – especially with a lack of face masks, disinfectants and gloves. The question of who has to go to work and who can stay at home is becoming a social explosive.

Quite a few French employees disagree with the distribution of roles. “You should come to work, the company management tells the workers – the executives are allowed to work at home,” said Jean-Christophe Leroy, a warehouse worker and representative of the CGT trade union at the La Redoute mail order company, the daily newspaper “Le Monde”. The question of what an indispensable service is these days divides. “It is absurd to let us work to sell T-shirts,” Leroy complains. The CGT demands that, in order to protect workers, only those “indispensable” companies that “serve the essential needs of the population” are allowed to work. Otherwise the companies would “make their profits on the backs of the workers”, as the union representative Céline Verzeletti said. This is also detrimental for the general public, because the employees use public transport and come too close to each other at work.