Print Posted By Lost in France on 21 Sep 2006 in Living in France - Business and employment in France

Work disputes - Strikes

Staff Representives

You are in dispute with your employer about, for instance:
  • your pay
  • a bonus he/she refuses to pay you
  • overtime
  • your working conditions or the health and safety conditions of your workstation
  • your holiday dates
  • your employment or apprenticeship contract
  • an occupational accident or disease, etc.
Contact the staff representatives in the undertaking:
  • the staff representatives if you are in a small undertaking
  • the staff representatives, shop stewards, members of the works council or of the Committee on Health, Safety and Working Conditions depending on the problem and the competence of each body.

Labour Inspectorate

You are in dispute with your employer about, for instance:
  • your employment or apprenticeship contract
  • your pay
  • - the amount of overtime he/she wants you to work
  • dismissal procedure he has initiated with respect to you
  • an occupational accident or disease
  • our working conditions: health, comfort or safety, etc.
Whom should you contact?
You can contact the labour inspectorate if you are an employee in a small undertaking with no staff representatives.
If there are staff representatives in your undertaking, ask them to intervene first.
If they do not win the case, contact the labour inspector.

Industrial Tribunal

You are in dispute with your employer about, for instance:
  • payment of your salary or bonuses
  • your working hours
  • your days of rest or holiday
  • the health and safety conditions of your workstation
  • your dismissal, or an unlawful disciplinary sanction
  • the handing over of the certificate for the ASSEDIC, or the employment certificate.
You have contacted the labour inspector.

Given the information he has given you, you consider that you are within your rights.
You must contact the industrial tribunal:
  • in the place where the undertaking in which you work is located
  • or in your place of residence, if you work from home or outside any establishment
  • or in the place where you were recruited
  • or in the place of the registered office of the undertaking employing you.


{loadposition contentad}All employees have the right to strike.
However, for a strike to be legal, it must comply with certain conditions.
The strike must result in the total cessation of work by the strikers. It may last only a short time. The objective must be to meet demands of a purely professional nature (improvement of working conditions or pay, for instance).

Legal strikes
The strike must be collective.
There is no strike if only one employee stops work, unless he/she is joining in a national strike.
The strike must be agreed. It implies a common intention to stop work for a specific professional purpose.

Illegal strikes:
  • go-slow consisting of deliberately slowing down the pace of work
  • a work-to-rule
  • unilateral meeting of demands (anticipated result)
  • political strike
  • solidarity strike which is not aimed at supporting an employee in the undertaking or at joining in demands common to a large number of workers.
Consequences of strikes
Strikes suspend the employment contract, but do not terminate it, except in the case of a serious offence.
Employers may deduct from your salary the part of the salary corresponding to the period of the strike. They cannot, following a strike, discriminate between strikers and non-strikers in terms of pay or social benefits.

Employers must continue paying non-strikers unless they can prove that it was impossible to give them work.
In the event that the premises are occupied, employers can have the obligation to pay non-strikers removed by asking the courts for an order to evacuate the premises.

Obligations for strikers
If you are on strike, you are required to respect the work of non-strikers.
The offence of hindering other workers is a serious offence for which you can be dismissed.
Acts of violence, assault and damage committed during a strike are offences which can lead to criminal convictions.

Trade unions and strikers are responsible for abuses committed during a strike. Employers and non-strikers can ask for damages in the courts.


For further information, contact:
the staff representatives or a trade union organisation;
the Labour Inspectorate;
the Departmental Directorate for Labour, Employment and Vocational Training (DDTEFP);
the industrial tribunal.

Source: European Union
© European Communities, 1995-2006


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