Reform of the Labour Code: Pity the Bosses!

Poor bosses! Who could imagine their worries, their anxieties, their nightmares? Fortunately, Hollande is here, at their bedside, holding their hands. He sympathizes… And here is the Bill of his Minister of Labour, El Khomri: an overhaul of the Labour Code dreamed of by the right and the Medef (the bosses’ union). This is the latest salvo of heavy artillery that the bosses have aimed at the workers.

Hollande at the bedside of our imaginary invalids…

“I ache”, “I lack freedom”, complains the employer. Hollande rushes. Gattaz, head of the Medef, whines: the Labour Code, collective bargaining… it hurts him! “It’s the company agreement” that must prevail, according to him. So Hollande plans to put company agreements before branch agreements, to divide workers. Each boss will be able to setup his policy in his company without worrying about the law or collective agreements.

We must have total freedom to layoff, claim the bosses. Like Air France, which just announced new cuts when the company makes record profits. And the freedom of the laid off workers? Hollande does not consider it. With the El Khomri Bill, the bosses will not even have to use economic difficulties as a pretext to fire us.

Supreme reasoning: we should facilitate dismissals… to fight unemployment! As if the rise in redundancy plans in recent years (baptized “social plans”) had created jobs.

…to better bleed their employees

That is not all. Gattaz requests a “cap on damages employers can be condemned to pay by labour tribunals”, so individual dismissals also cost nothing to the bosses. And the Court of Auditors recommends to reduce unemployment benefits and their duration. This is the objective of the Unedic (unemployment insurance) negotiations that just started. The long-term unemployed will have to fall back on the minimum social benefits and the charities for meals.

The more he bosses lay off workers… the greater the deficit of the Unedic… which is paid off by taking from the unemployed. The circle is complete.

If they are going to be entirely free and shameless, the bosses want more. They also ask to legally end the 35 hours – which they have already suppressed in many industries. So Hollande is considering 12-hour days, 48-hour weeks… But not more than sixteen 46-hour weeks in a row, he explains. Thank you!
As for wages, bosses will be able to lower them in the name of the holy competitiveness… thanks to “company referendums”. Might as well put all employees in a voting booth and ask how they want to be screwed, with the threat of collective redundancies in case they refuse.

To their hangover!

This is the kind of government that big business loves. On the other side, while the trade union confederations are outraged, more or less, it is mostly about the “social dialogue”, which they are afraid to loose. The so-called social dialogue which never did anything but make the unions endorse the bosses’ demands. Thanks to this social dialogue, some union leaders are already proposing to just “rectify” the Bill… to better make us swallow it?

And on the side of the employees, subjected to flexible schedule and insecure jobs, or already jobless? This is not the time to complain, but rather to prepare for better tomorrows. The bosses wage a war against our class. Unlike them, we do not have a government to serve us. But we have our numbers, our years of accumulated anger, in all industries. And they would be nothing without us.

Let them open champagne bottles in their boards of directors, and toast the programmed death of the Labour Code.

It’s on us to give them a damn good hangover.