Between them, “there is something strong”, there is “mutual trust”, a “special relationship”… During his official trip to Greece, Hollande had only sweet words towards Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. This “friendship” had been formed last July, when the French president and the German Chancellor had dictated their terms to Greece by imposing a third draconian austerity plan. The leftist Syriza government had completely given in: this is the “sense of responsibility” Hollande admired in Tsipras.
Between winks and complicit smiles, the two heads of State signed a “fiscal and administrative assistance agreement” which will allow the French government to directly monitor the carving up of Greece. Incidentally, Hollande had also brought a few close relations, the bosses of Alstom, Vinci and Suez, who came to get great bargains on Greek public services for sale. With friends like that, workers in Greece need no enemies!
Dialogue with those who submit…
Neither do workers in France. Hollande and his ministers have only one thing to say: “social dialogue”. But where Valls sees “a beautiful demonstration that social dialogue is alive”, is in the agreement on supplementary pensions in the private sector that three unions just accepted and which stipulates a freeze on pensions for three years and the choice for future pensioners between a loss of 10% of their pension for two to three years and a postponement of retirement by one year. The president commented: “it is a new freedom that is granted”!
And there were union leaders to attend the “social conference”, a dog-and-pony show in favor of the bosses, during which the main announcement was the acceleration of the reform of the labor laws, to be discussed in two days at the Council of Ministers. Only the CGT and Solidaires had boycotted the event. To endorse the systematic destruction of the protections that workers have obtained through years of struggle, that is the meaning of their “social dialogue”!
… repression against those who don’t
This capitulation of union leaders does not represent the feelings of the majority of workers, starting with those of Air France, who do not accept job cuts. They have expressed it again last week in front of the National Assembly, all staff categories, joined by employees from other companies. Facing the anger of the working class, the masks fall and Hollande drops his soft tone: spectacular arrests, suspension without pay at Air France, a shareholder of which is the state; everything is good to try and intimidate the workers who hold their bosses accountable.
Even some lawyers were hit by the batons of the swat teams, while they were demonstrating for funding of legal aid to the poor. One of them had her dress torn off by the cops, which moved Manuel Valls less than the shirt of the human resources director of Air France.
This zeal to repress, according to a report of the League for Human Rights, caused the death of Rémi Fraisse, a young pacifist and ecologist killed just a year ago on the Sievens dam site in the Tarn region. The orders came from the top: the Interior Minister had given “instructions for extreme firmness”. As for the official police report that clears the policemen, prefects and ministers, it is so deceptive that even the mainstream media were outraged!
Lies, hypocrisy, repression… Hollande uses all the means at his disposal to impose the policy of the Medef (the bosses union). His “social dialogue” is only a mask to hide the employers’ dictatorship. There will be many other shirts to rip off to expose the hypocrisy of the Government. Let us hope that the bosses will meet their match!