The power of striking in France has reached surprising proportions, although not for regular French workers.
While hundreds of thousand of striking French citizens have had little success, several illegal workers who have been camping for six months in front of a Chronopost sorting center in Alfortville (Val-de-Marne) have been granted a residence permit, reported regional daily Ouest-France. They got the precious document by going… on strike.
Thus, around thirty migrants employed on the site by a subcontractor of the company, demanded their regularization and denounced a system of “cascade subcontracting” which “exploits” them and keeps them in an invisible precariousness.
Installed in tents right next to the fences which protect the warehouse of the La Poste subsidiary, these illegals had been recruited by an interim agency by presenting identity papers which were not their own. It is a system with which the so-called agencies operate, to the chagrin of the unions and local authorities, which have supported the action of migrants since the strike began on June 11.
For the moment, five of them have received a residence permit, but around thirty other files are currently under review. “We will remain there until the situation of all those who worked for Chronopost is resolved,” said Christian Schweyer, the host of the group of undocumented workers of Vitry, which has organised the strikers of the site.
The migrants will now be able to claim French benefits as well as send money abroad. In 2019, funds sent by migrants to their country of origin amounted to 494 billion euros. For the first time, these funds will exceed the total direct investment of foreign companies in low and middle income countries.
In fact, migrants have been the new key players in the development of their country of origin. According to a Le Monde survey , the funds sent by migrants each year to their country of origin amounted to 550 billion dollars in 2019, or 494 billion euros.
This figure could be much higher if one took into account financial flows that are not recorded in official statistics, such as sending cash.
For the first time, this sum will exceed the total direct investment of foreign companies in low and middle income countries. The five biggest beneficiaries today are India, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt.
However, this increase in transfers can be explained in particular by the increase in the number of migrants. Between 2000 and 2018, the share of migrants in the population of high-income OECD countries increased from 8,8 percent to 13,9 percent.
In its report on trends in international migration in 2019, the OECD also noted that the diaspora is the source of “transfers of skills, knowledge, ideas and values” to the country of origin.
“The diaspora has become the most reliable donor,” explained Olivier Kaba, in charge of migration projects at the French Development Agency (AFD). These remittances are apparently more stable than foreign investments and now serve as shock absorbers for natural disasters or economic crises.