There was no summer break for government’s attacks against workers. As if forcing through the Labor Law in the Assembly on 21 July wasn’t enough, it struck again on August 8th, authorizing the dismissal of a CGT union delegate from Air France, implicated in the “torn shirt” episode. This was done against the advice of the Labor Inspectorate, which considered it an unjustified dismissal. This outrageous decision, to intimidate all employees of Air France and beyond, is in line with the repressive government policy against all workers, which has been illustrated particularly during the movement against the Labor Law.
The Minister of Labor, Myriam El Khomri, therefore authorized Air France to dismiss a delegate of Roissy maintenance workshops without proof, siding with the management that had already dismissed four other employees for gross misconduct and penalized a total of 18 other workers chosen at random. A trial will take place on September 27th and 28th in Bobigny, in which sixteen workers have been charged with “gathering in violence.”
The Violence of the Job Eliminators
Apparently, for the government, it is the employees who are “violent” and not the management of Air France, which has eliminated 10 000 jobs in three years and driven into unemployment workers whose only crime was to defend their livelihoods! On October 5th, 2015, 2000 Air France employees invaded the Central Works Council at Roissy, which was announcing a restructuring plan involving a further 2900 job cuts. These workers had plenty of reasons to express their dissatisfaction and refuse management’s new set of dirty tricks. And if the HR manager lost a lousy shirt during the ruckus, it was just pay back! This is certainly how millions of workers in solidarity with the wrath of Air France employees felt at the time.
Today, even though Air France is about to announce several hundred million euros in profits for 2016, management still wants to impose worsening working conditions on the workers. To sweeten the pill, Air France’s CEO, De Juniac – who granted himself a 65% pay increase in 2015 – was replaced by a new one… But his “Perform 2020” plan, with a name as ridiculous as that of his predecessor, is cut from the same cloth: reduce the aircrew (only one flight attendant on some long flights), reduce rest periods and wages, and increase hours of night flight and for all; in other words, more of everything the staff has undergone in recent years and that the management of Air France wants to aggravate for the sake of its shareholders.
Use Our Real Weapon: Strike
The workers responded to all these attacks with strikes in which many participated: the pilots’ strike in June, the rest of the aircrew in late July. The employees do not intend to let the company impose more sacrifices, nor to be intimidated by the cries of outrage by the executives who branded the movement as a “threat to the survival of the company.”
The real threat faced by Air France workers, and more widely throughout the world of work, is the decline in our standard of living imposed by employers greedy for profits, with a government standing at attention before their every need.
Well, the workers also have weapons: their number. Be aware that they can strike in all sectors, and show that without them nothing runs in the economy.
The mobilization against the Labor Law held out for four months. But now many more must to join in the fight.
As soon as September 15th several unions and youth organizations are calling for a day of strikes against the implementation of the El Khomri law. Everything need to be done to send this law into oblivion!