Tuesday, June 2, 2009

French Workers Continue Mobilisations Against Crisis

Chris Latham

Workers joined protests across France on May 26 as part the fourth day of protests called by France’s eight union confederations in support of their demands for greater action by the government to defend the rights of workers, pensioners and the unemployed and to make employers pay for the current crisis.

The May 26 mobilisations were projected as a day of localized protests that would highlight specific problems in the workplace. The largest support for the day came from workers at the state rail operator SNCF, who conducted a 24-hour strike beginning on May 25. While the strike was timed to coincide with the broader mobilization and the joint demands of the confederations, it was also in support of specific issues in the SNCF particularly opposition to the privatization of SNCF.

Without centralised demonstrations as a mechanism to illustrate the breadth of support for the day, the government, employer groups, and the mainstream media have sort to down play the protests.

Reuter’s reported on May 27, that joint unions had said that they never intended bring millions out onto the streets, as in the three national days of protest they have staged so far this year, but rather to maintain pressure on the government through grassroots action.

Annick Coupe, trade union Solidaires spokesperson, told Reuters, “if the government is watching the clocks tick hoping that workers will get tired, it's making a big mistake. If there is no major change in policy, it can expect to face lots more social mobilisation in coming months".


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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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