Friday, May 20, 2016

Turmoil in France: Hollande's social-democratic government fiercely attacks workers' rights

Do it like Tsipras! The social-democratic government of Francois Hollande has unleashed a horrific attack against working class rights with it's anti-labour 'El-Khomri' law.

220,000 French workers have blocked roadways, burned police cars, and violently rioted in opposition to measures that limit pay and expand poor working conditions.

On Tuesday, French transportation workers took to the streets in a wave of weeklong strikes and protests in opposition to new Brussels-backed 'labor reforms' forced through by executive decree last week, without parliamentary approval.

The EU reforms look to abolish the country’s national working time agreement, that imposes limits on the number of hours an individual can be asked to work before receiving overtime pay, and is considered particularly disadvantageous to the transportation industry as it reduces the amount of rest time that truckers have available between hauls. 
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls successfully circumvented a vote by members of Parliament, who intended to side with public opinion in opposition to the measure, under authority granted by Article 49(3) of the European Union Constitution that overrides national processes.

The measure was supported by the French President Francois Hollande, who has called on the protesters to stand down. "I will not give way because too many governments have backed down," said Hollande in an interview with Europe 1 radio. "I prefer that people have an image of a president who made reforms rather than a president who did nothing."

The protests have at times dissolved into rioting, with police cars burnt, roads blocked with burning tires, and widespread property destruction. Some 220,000 protesters are estimated to have joined the French protests. Polls show as many as three in four people oppose the overhaul, fearing the planned legislation could weaken workers' rights and protections.

PAME: Solidarity to French Workers.

In a statement issued today, the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) expresses it's solidarity to the people of France and the struggle against the anti-labor 'El-Khomri' law.

"In France, as well as in Greece, anti-labor measures are being promoted, having as an aim to secure the profitability of corporation groups. A prerequisite for their profitablity, however, is the 'slaughtering' of the working class. The decrease of wages, pensions, the abolition of labour rights, the commercialization of Health and Education. The biggest victim of this attack is the Youth, which is condemned in unemployment or in medieval-like labour relations".