We Are All Goodyear Workers

Hollande announced a “state of economic and social emergency”. Consequences: on one side, 9 month jail time for eight Goodyear employees who, during 30 hours, held accountable two directors of a deceitful multinational that had just laid off 800 workers; on the other side many more billions in gift to the bosses, under cover of creating jobs. Their program: intimidate the workers, get the bosses a red carpet and the taxpayers’ money.

New gifts for the bosses…

Supposedly to fight unemployment, Hollande plans to subsidize the bosses again, without getting anything in return. Small to medium sized companies will get €2,000 and micro companies will get €4,000 for every new hire. Most probably low wage jobs, precarious, since there is no obligation for permanent contracts, only a minimum of six months. Since 2012, the bosses have gotten €40 billion through reductions in their social contributions, but that didn’t cause unemployment to go down. And unlike the laid off workers, the ones who lay them off have no risk of being convicted of any charge. Now Hollande makes it even worse, speaking about “simplifying the termination of a job contract”, which means allowing employers to layoff even more easily and rapidly.

Then there are the statistics tricks. Hollande needs the unemployment numbers to decrease before the presidential election. 500,000 long term unemployed will be offered “training”. Never mind that the training institutions said they couldn’t train that many people. Nor that this kind of training rarely translates into jobs. That is not the goal. On the other hand, this would move 500,000 unemployed from class A to class D or E; that is, a 500,000 drop in the official unemployment statistics. The percentage of unemployed would thus go from 10.2 to 8.2.

…and intimidation maneuvers against the workers

Last year Goodyear made 2.5 billion profits and paid 800 million to stockholders. Meanwhile, 800 employees of the factory in Amiens are out of a job. Twelve have committed suicide since the factory closed. Who is using violence?

The Goodyear workers only held the two directors for questioning for 30 hours, and rightly so. But the judge of the Amiens court sheepishly followed the demand of the prosecutor who represented the State at the trial.

In other words, this condemnation results from a political decision of the government, to intimidate all workers in the country. But for Hollande to keep playing guardian angel of the bosses could turn out to be a miscalculation.

Our turn to hold the bosses accountable

We, employees, who keep facing job cuts, layoffs, unemployment and low wages, should not let this government, which helps break social protections, have the last word.

To face this situation, Mickaël Wamen, the CGT union leader of the ex-Goodyear workers, while interviewed by Canal Plus called the audience to “stop expressing your anger in the ballot box by voting National Front, instead anger must be expressed in the streets. We have to take back the power! ”

Indeed. And for starters, let’s attend all the rallies in support of our comrades condemned to prison.