Last week, once again, Pierre Gattaz (the head of Medef, the bosses’ union) pretended to oppose the new version of the Work law: “the first version of the bill was going in the right direction, the new one is unbearable” Really? Nothing has changed of the fundamentals of the El Khomri Act. Company agreements will still be allowed to be inferior to collective agreements and even to what is prescribed in the Labour Code. Overtime will be paid less. And redundancies will be facilitated.
The struggle has engaged…
The staging of a disagreement between the Medef and the government deceives nobody. This law was dictated by big business and it will benefit only big business. No wonder that no one supports the government anymore, apart from the CFDT’s leaders.
Valls and Hollande are willing to sacrifice their personal careers to the interests of Gattaz and his friends. To obtain the withdrawal of the Work Act, it is the Medef that we must scare, with the workers’ weapon to confront employers: the strike.
For now, the opposition movement has braved police violence (the CGT’s poster that denounces it made the SP, the right and the far right scream, but went straight to the heart of the demonstrators). The movement made itself heard in the street. As many labour activists at the CGT congress noted last week, it is time to move to a strike that is extended until the withdrawal of the law.
April 26-28: a week to revive the movement
The railway workers are affected by their own variant of the Work Act, dubbed “base decree for rail”: 10 to 20 less rest days per year, work schedules changed up to one hour before job starts, etc. Their unions call them a day to strike on April 26, deliberately separate from the general call against the Work law on April 28.
But this strategy of division does not work. Many railway workers want more than a single, isolated day and speak of extending the strike until April 28 at least, to join their struggle to the movement against the Work law.
They are aware that if you stay alone you cannot stop the workers’ enemies, whether it’s about the El Khomri Act or about their own demands. They are right.
All on strike and in the streets on April 28!
Last week, this question has stirred debates at “Nuit Debout” (Up All Night) assemblies, at student general meetings, and at the Congress of the CGT in Marseille. We need new events, and not in three weeks. May 1st, of course, but it is not enough. We will not win just by going to a few demonstrations.
We must hurt the bosses’ wallets by the strike and even make them afraid to lose everything. That’s what they deserve for their arrogance. For this, we must coordinate the struggles, join them in massive strike days and promote the extension of the strike between two events whenever possible.
Are we strong enough to win?
Among us, many are those who hesitate to enter the fight. But, if the Work Act passes, the price to pay will be infinitely heavier that the cost of a strike. And our struggle would certainly meet the sympathy of most workers.
The last confederal congress of the CGT has called for “holding general meetings in companies and public services so that employees decide (…) on the strike and its renewal.”
Yes, we must discuss, debate, but only to take action on the 28th and beyond, until the withdrawal of the Work Act. When a fraction of us rises, fear will switch from our side to theirs!
For the withdrawal of the Work Act and to put forward our demands, all on strike and in the streets on April 28!