In the end, Manuel Valls drew the 49.3 to impose his made-for-the-bosses law. During a pitiful parliamentary show, the conservatives were embarrassed to be in agreement with the Socialist Party while pretending to fight a legislation that they actually dreamed of passing. The SP “rebels” were not rebellious for long, as they did not make much effort to pass a motion of censure, and therefore placed their trust in the government and its backward law.
Water boils at 100 C, France at 49.3
The response from the street came quickly as several hundred young people gathered in front of the National Assembly in the hours that followed the announcement. Importantly, last Thursday we were still tens of thousands in the street despite a huge and provocative police deployment.
Because a vast majority of the people have understood that such a law means “do or die” for the employees and “take the money and run” for the bosses. On one side, we should always tighten our belts more, and even add new holes when there are no more. On the other side, there are Panama papers and indecent salaries like those recently announced by two bosses. Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault Nissan, earned more than €15 million last year after imposing three years of wage freeze and 7,500 job cuts. Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of Air France, cut 5,500 jobs and received €1 million in 2015, a 65% pay raise… Everyone can feel on a daily basis the consequences of this racketeering against the working class. People are fed up and that’s what they have expressed for over two months.
Breaking down the barriers
The 49.3 is not an obstacle to the removal of the Work Act. Ten years ago, in 2006, we already had the experience of a mobilization that had made the government back down: the law on “first job contract” was shattered by a movement of youth followed by employees, after having been passed.
We can win
Because true democracy is not played in the parliamentary theatre, but in the streets, in our mobilisations, thanks to our determination.
And the coming week is also fraught with danger for the government and the bosses. Starting Tuesday, truck drivers are called on a renewable strike and should be joined Wednesday by railway workers who, in some stations, have already announce their willingness to strike. Same picture in the petrochemical industry.
The strategy of the unions, to call for a succession of action days here and there, cannot make the government back down. If some sectors were beginning to organize to carry out a renewable strike and ask other employees to join them against the Work law and with their own demands, that would considerably strengthen our movement and would hit the government hard.
It is by fighting all together, by joining the mobilization of all sectors, public and private, of youth and workers, that we can gather enough force. It is by organising at the rank and file, and by coordinating with each other that we can win. Students who made contact with workers opened a breach. The necessary convergence of all the fights is within our reach.
Paris Demonstration May 19 at 2 pm, Nation square