Anti-union laws

Four months of struggle against the labour law

Author: 

Olivier Delbeke

On Thursday 23 June, for the first time since the Gaullist state ban on the 8 February 1962 demonstration against the war in Algeria, which ended in the massacre of eight CGT activists in the Charonne Metro station, French trade unions saw their demonstration banned by the authorities.

In the face of the firm refusal by the unions (CGT, FO, FSU, Solidaires, UNEF, UNL, FIDL) to back down, the government relented, much to the disgust of the right-wing Figaro newspaper, which ran the headline “The government obeys the CGT”.

The real achievement of the anti-labour law movement in France in the last four months is that in spite of the drip-drip tactic of the union leaderships, chosen so as to avoid calling a general strike, wave after wave of strikes or demonstrations continue to give voice to a movement of resistance, which can still bring hundreds of thousands or even millions into the streets.

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Democracy, direct action, and socialism

There are decisive turning points in history that shape the future for many years ahead. The British labour movement was brought to such a turning point by the victory of the Thatcherite Tories in the 1979 general election and the events that came after it. The defeat of the labour movement then shaped the social, political, and ethical world we live in now. Was that defeat unavoidable? The revolutionary left argued then that it wasn’t: that if we mobilised our strength we could defeat Thatcher, as we had defeated her Tory predecessors in 1972-4.

Is direct action undemocratic? What methods should the labour movement use to defeat the bosses? Should we stick within the law? This new pamphlet discusses these issues and more.

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French strikers defy bosses

Lutte Ouvrière (editorial 12 June)

The government, the bosses and the media ... have used the victims of the floods as part of their grotesque moral blackmail [in a fight over France’s new labour laws]. They used Euro 2016 to demand that the strikes stop. And, in spite of everything, the SNCF [French rail] strike is carrying on, the refuse workers are sticking to their guns, and Air France pilots have carried out their threat to strike. They are right to do so.

The national demonstration organised in Paris on 14 June, and the many initiatives which are being taken locally, are an opportunity for French workers to show the massive rejection of the anti-labour law.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Mark Mills, Tony Byrne, Ollie Hill, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) members are in the middle of a fierce battle against massive pay cuts in a food factory in Sheffield.

Pennine Foods is part of 2 Sisters Group, which has revenue of over £3 billion; its owner Ranjit Singh Boparan has a personal wealth of £190 million. Boparan’s “salami-slicing” of conditions has been going on now for 8 years.

Sheffield food factory strike; train drivers: reject means reject!; GTR uses courts to stop strikes; Tube bosses celebrate job cuts; Barnet library workers to strike.

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Mass strikes defend workers’ rights

Author: 

Olivier Delbeke

The strike in France for the withdrawal of the “labour law” is continuing to spread slowly, and this week alone it has won over the waste treatment centres; it is continuing in the refineries; it is supported by thousands of local groups of activists, in particular CGT members, who are active in logistics and transport centres.

Mass strikes against austerity and anti-union laws are continuing in Belgium and France.

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Labour law fight steps up

Author: 

Gemma Short

The mobilisation against the ″labour law″ in France is both stepping up and facing increasing police repression.

Strikes have spread to lorry drivers, oil refineries, some dock workers and rail workers — some despite the hesitancy of union leaders. Oil refinery workers in Normandy have struck and been blocking roads, industrial estates and fuel depots.

The mobilisation against the ″labour law″ in France is both stepping up and facing increasing police repression.

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Nuit debout and the movement against the "labour law" in France

Workers' Liberty activists spoke to Gabrielle, a hospital worker and revolutionary socialist activist in France about the "labour law" and the attacks on hospital workers.

The situation at the moment: there is a double movement – the situation in the movement, and the situation in the hospitals. I’ll talk about the situation with the movement overall, which is currently somewhat paradoxical.

Workers' Liberty spoke to a revolutionary socialist activist in France about the latest with the fight against the "labour law".

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French railworkers strike

On Wednesday 11 May the Hollande-Valls Socialist Party government in France forced the anti-worker Labour Law through without a parliamentary vote, using a piece of the constitution which allows laws to be adopted without a vote unless the government loses a vote of no confidence.

The Socialist Party government in France has forced the anti-worker Labour Law through without a parliamentary vote.

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Unison’s rotten pay deal

Author: 

Simon Nelson

Unison members were shocked, or would have been shocked had they found the news buried on the Unison website (27 April), to find the Union has gone against the recommendation for strike action from the 2016/18 pay consultation and accepted the employers’ derisory offer.

The situation for national pay bargaining in Local Government is now incredibly grim.

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