The following article was first published as the editorial of workplace bulletins distributed by members of L’Etincelle (The Spark) faction in France.

May 22, 2017

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe just chose his general staff to lead the bosses attacks. Macron pretended to be “outside the system”, but now his government includes graduates of the National Administration School, old politicians ready to switch party, and business managers. Starting with Edouard Philippe himself, who is all of the above.

The Transport minister, Elisabeth Borne, had been head of the Paris Transit Network for two years, where she prepared for the opening of public transportation to private interests by down-sizing and freezing wages. As a result, 432 jobs were cut in 2016, despite profits of €141 M.

The Education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, heads a business school where future managers learn to layoff and pressure employees. As former director of school education under Sarkozy, he knows everything about budget cuts and redundancies.

Business France heads the Department of Labour!

The Department of Labour, from where most attacks will be run, was openly given to the bosses’ union (Medef). The minister is Muriel Penicaud, former head of human resources at Danone, where she cut 900 jobs, and former administrator at Orange during the reorganisation that led to many suicides. Before being named minister, she was an administrator for both Aéroport de Paris and the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation, executive director of Business France, and member of the French railways supervisory board. Her chief of staff, Antoine Foucher, was co-executive director of Medef until 2016.

Rather than a “civil society”, this looks a lot like the setup of a military march against the working class, with experienced generals openly chosen within the bourgeoisie. They will first attack on the Labour Code front, with the objective of going even further than the El Khomri Law – against which many of us fought last spring – so the bosses have a free hand to cut jobs, lower wages, worsen working conditions. On the battlefront is also an increase in social security contribution, which will weigh on wages and pensions that are already not high enough.

Let’s join our anger, to create problems for the government

While the new government is getting ready for the coming fights, the bosses are already on the offensive. Ford announced 20,000 job cuts globally to reassure the stockholders, strengthening the threat against the 1,000 workers (including Philippe Poutou) in Blanquefort. There are also layoffs or threats at Vivarte, Tati, Mim, Whirlpool, and many others.

The 300 employees of GM&S, a subcontractor for PSA and Renault, have been fighting for several months against the planned closure of the company and threaten to blow up their plant. With the coming general election, the Economy minister, Bruno LeMaire, got the two major automobile companies to increase their orders, allowing the factory to survive. But for how long? The workers should stay mobilised as long as they have no real guarantees all jobs will be saved. They organised a rally on May 16th, attended by about 2,000 workers and supporters; that idea could be reused. It probably contributed to the new government quickly finding a solution, even if a temporary one.

In the coming general election, the revolutionary candidates will emphasize this prospect of a fight to defend our interests. Candidates of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) will run in a number of wards to make Philippe Poutou’s programme heard. The NPA also calls to vote for Lutte Ouvriere candidates in other districts. By voting for these candidates we will show the bosses that we are ready to fight back against their coming attacks.