There are no signs of strikers in French Guiana calling off their protests and allowing rocket company Arianespace resuming their launch activity. The strike is now in its 4th week.
The strikers have brought the country to a near-standstill with roadblocks throughout the region. Their complaints centre on low wages, extremely high unemployment rates and most foodstuffs costing around 12 percent more than on the ‘mainland’ of France. They are also citing the huge sums which flow into the space station at Kourou, little of which trickles down into the pockets of locals.
The latest suggestion is that France’s President Holland make a ‘gesture’ and visit the region. A recent presidential ‘mission’ visited and offered €1 billion in immediate cash aid, but this was rejected by the strikers who are demanding €3 billion. April 11th saw President Holland call for an end to the strike and talks to begin. Much of France itself is very much focussed on its presidential elections starting on April 23rd.
The blockades are reported to be getting even tougher, with food imports also being stopped at the region’s ports.
There is a total shutdown at the space centre, and all launch activity suspended.