In 2014, French livestock farmers experienced a six to eight percent decrease in prices of their goods due to falling prices worldwide, a Russian embargo on European Union goods, as well as competition between supermarkets, while distribution companies’ earnings remained the same. On 17 June 2015, members of the French food industry agreed to a hike in the price of meat and dairy in order to increase the amount of money going to the farmers. The agreement stipulated a five-cent price increase per kilogram of beef per week.
The French General Strikes in 2009 came during the first quarter of the country’s recession and was the first general strike in an industrialized nation since the global financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. Economic forecasts predicted that the economy would contract by 2 percent in 2009 and that unemployment would reach 10 percent by 2010. In response to these poor economic predictions, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a $34 billion stimulus plan in December, which included capital infusions to banks of more than $11 billion.
Jacques Chirac became president of France with a majority 53 to 47 vote in a close May 1995 presidential election. Chirac had little time to celebrate, however. Chirac faced the daunting tasks of fixing France’s waning economy and addressing widening social inequality. At the time, France’s economy was limping along with unemployment at 12.3% - higher than any other leading industrialised nation.
French students and workers force government to abandon new sub-minimum wage policy for young workers, 1994
1993, the Conservative French government, under Prime Minister Édouard
Balladur, enacted the contrat d’insertion professionelle (professional
insertion contract, CIP), a new wage policy intended to address the extremely
high level of unemployment among French youth. At the time, one out of four
French youth between the ages of 18 and 26 were out of work. The French
government published decrees in late February 1994 that announced CIP and its
main provision: the establishment of new entry-level wages for young people
January of 2006 in France was tense time. Economic growth in 2005 had been unexpectedly poor and national unemployment was at nearly 10%, totaling more than 2.5 million people. Youth unemployment was particularly problematic, with the under-26 population suffering a joblessness rate of 22-23% nationwide and 40% or 50% in France’s poorest communities. In fact, youth angst and dissatisfaction, significantly influenced by the high unemployment rate, was so high by the end of 2005 that urban riots forced France to declare a two month state of emergency.
In September of 1995, international negotiations began on a draft agreement called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). The document was being negotiated by members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The stated goals of the agreement were to establish a set of multilateral rules for foreign investment that would govern the process in a more structured, systematic way. Up until the draft, foreign investment agreements were established on a country-by-country bilateral basis.
Guadeloupe is generally a tourist-friendly French Caribbean island (a department of the French state, whose residents are citizens of the EU). The island's inhabitants rely mostly on imported goods sold in French-owned supermarkets at a significantly higher price than on the mainland, despite having a 23 percent rate of unemployment, more than twice that of France's.
In the French Island of La Réunion located in the Indian Ocean, 52% of the inhabitants lived under the poverty line, 50% of the youth were underemployed and there was a 25% unemployment rate at the time of this campaign. This had been the situation for decades, but the recent increase in unemployment and inflation (which affected La Reunion in a greater way than it affected France) made life increasingly expensive in La Réunion.
In Martinique, a small Caribbean island and overseas department of France, 70,000 people live below the poverty line. Before this campaign, the people of Martinique had been experiencing a continuing increase in layoffs and precariousness in work while the purchasing power continued to decrease. Unemployment was at 23 percent, while most of the basic food items shipped in from France remained very expensive.
The May revolt started as a student protest over the closing of the University of Paris’ Nanterre campus. The campus closed after months of escalation of student protests. These protests initially stemmed from a fight for sexual liberation (or the right to have visitors of the opposite sex in dorms) that later radicalized to become a fight for more student influence in the education system, and finally for a complete change of economic and social structure.