The majority of RATP’s railway workers had to end the indefinite strike that began on 5 December against pension reform. But the response to the government’s attacks that began two months ago is not over. The thousands of firefighters who demonstrated in Paris on 28 January, the hospital strike on 14 February, and the mobilisation at EDF where there are numerous power cuts and production cuts are proof of this. In Education, too, the movement continues.
The reasons for the anger
In the National Education system, there are many reasons to be angry. The teaching profession is going to be “redefined”, with the stated aim of reducing public spending. Vague promises of salary increases have vanished and the pension reform will hit pensions hard. But it is the Blanquer high school and baccalaureate reform that sparked things off lately. A new unequal baccalaureate, dependent on the high school where it is taken, and which does not offer the same prospects depending on whether it is taken in a working-class neighbourhood or an elitist city centre high school.
Early local examinations for the new baccalaureate started in the last two weeks. A baccalaureate that neither the teachers nor the students want, abruptly imposed from above. Staff and student mobilisation has led to the cancellation, postponement or disruption of these exams in more than 500 high schools, a third of all schools. On the pickets, railway workers and bus drivers were seen to help them, in a way returning the favour to the teachers who had come to support them over the past two months.
Macron’s bulldozer heads towards the cliff edge
But the government wants its new baccalaureate at all costs, even though the first two weeks of exams have already shown it’s a failure. So they’re sending the cops into high schools to lay down the law. The students are locked up, some of them end up in police custody, and mobilised teachers are prosecuted.
The government’s attacks against the workers follow one after another so quickly, the accumulated hatred against it is so strong, and it is so afraid of the whole working class raising its head for good, that it chooses repression and a “self-righteous” posture. This could well backfire.
The fight against pension reform is not the fight of the “special schemes” but the fight of all of us: the pensions and retirement age of all workers will be affected. In the same way, the fight in high schools is ours, so that our children, working class neighbourhood students, are not once again sacrificed on the altar of reduced public spending.
With every government attack, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are not impressed by their postures and decide to fight back. This is a valuable example for the entire working class, in both the public and private sectors, which can deal many blows to a government and employers whose arrogance only betrays their weakness.