Saturday, April 7, 2018

La France en grève - Solidarity with railway workers against Macron's policies

France is on strike! Thousands workers have been in streets during the last weeks, participating in strikes and mobilizations, protesting against the new "reforms" that the Macron-Philippe government promotes in order to serve the needs of the domestic capital. 

More specifically, the French government launched a lightning war against the railwaymen. It has decided to pass by order (without debate or vote in parliament) a privatization project of the SNCF (the national railway company) and to remove the railway status, conquered by the workers' struggles of the past. Among the Macron government’s plans is to lay off 120,000 public sector workers.

The privatization of SNCF, the last 100% public company in France and one of the last 100% public railway company in Europe with the Portuguese CP, would be a disaster for railway workers and the French population.

This is part of the requirements of the "4th railway package" of the European Union which obliges the states of the Union to privatize to deliver the public service to the financial monopolies.

A nationwide protest was held on March 22, where thousands of workers demonstrated against layoffs, downsizing and privatization of public services. Railroad workers plan to follow a schedule of two days of strikes followed by three days of working from April 3 to June 28. Trade union leaders Laurent Brun (CGT rail workers), Erik Meyer (Unsa) and Didier Aubert of CFDT rail workers said the fight was to “safeguard a public service that meets the needs of the population and guarantees equal access in all territories.”

Trade unionist forces, affiliated internationally with the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), like the "Cheminots de Versailles" CGT union of railway workers in Île-de-France region are at the forefront of the struggle. 

From its part, the administration management of SNCF, the government-owned company that runs the railroads, has promised a bonus to any manager with a train operator’s certificate who agrees to drive a train. Furthermore, the SNCF management disputes the validity of the strike notice that the CGT, UNSA and CFDT unions, through which railroad workers are represented, have given.

Air France workers are striking on April 3, 10 and 11, but no decision has been taken on how long they will hold these work stoppages. Some electricity workers have given notice that they intend to strike every day for the next three months.

Support and active solidarity statements have been issued by the Communist Revolutionary Communist Party of France (PCRF) and the Pole of Communist Revival in France (PRCF).