Members of the French union, the Federation Sans Travail, which include tour guides and information kiosk workers from the vast panoply of France’s public buildings and cultural services, today voted for strike action in protest at the requirement that they perform a days work for their pay.
“Our, members, who staff the information desks, or patrol the galleries of some of France’s most famous and historic buildings are fed up having to deal with the public,” explained Gilles Facturations-Valeer of the FST. “Our gallery attendants are not there to simply guide the public. They simply will not stand for it. Chairs are another of our demands.”
“All day, everyday, our members have to ask questions about where this is, how to get to that. It is very tiresome,” he explained. “Constantly having to remind people not to use flash photography – well this is intolerable for an assistant at an art gallery.”
It is feared that the strike action may spread to other areas of the French economy. France’s lorry drivers are already rumoured to have begun stockpiling fire lighters and kerosene at the country’s ports, should the day of the Museum worker’s strike be nice and sunny.
It is not clear if members of the Transport Worker’s union would also be taking part in the strike, since they refused to give a statement to English speaking media.
The curators of the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay – the two institutions most heavily effected by the walk-out, said that the work to rule and refusal by FST members to provide assistance or information to members of the public would not in anyway effect the traditional image of Parisian helpfulness.
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