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

September 25, 2017

Last Thursday, called by the union confederations CGT, FSU and Solidaires, between 132,000 (according to the police) and 223,000 demonstrators marched against the rulings signed by Macron on Friday. There were less demonstrators than on September 12th, but on Saturday tens of thousands of people marched again in Paris, using the call from Mélenchon to continue the previous two days of actions.

Rulings made for the bosses

The government and the bosses claim that layoffs must be facilitated, so they can better hire: they are really taking the piss on a grand scale! Bosses had already been laying off massively, now it will be even easier. And from now on they will get away cheaply with wrongful dismissals, thanks to the cap on severance pay. They will also be able to “consult” with workers to make them work more and earn less. Refusing any changes to one’s work contract will be grounds for dismissal. How could the bosses not love this!

And it’s not just about the rulings. The government already decided to layoff 150,000 of the most precarious workers, those on assisted contracts. No one among the working class is spared by the attacks. The monthly €5 drop in individual housing assistance could become €50 or 60, maybe even 70 in low-income residences.

Macron wants to divide our fights

To please even more the bosses who were already quite happy, Macron thought it was a good idea to call us lazy. More seriously, he showed that he would keep the pro-boss policy going by announcing he will aim to reform pension scheme for public servants and railway workers. No doubt he plans to try. But beyond the anti-worker posturing, we must realise he fears that we could bring together our fights. By telling public servants and railways workers that they’ll be under attack in a few months, he hopes they will leave today’s fight to prepare for the coming one. That’s obviously a trick: we are lost if he manages to divide our fights. Conversely, if we can make the government back down now, the coming attacks will be abandoned. We can do it: in 1995, Juppé declared he was “self-assured” but was forced, by the railway workers’ anger, to give up his pension policy. And in 2006, Villepin had to withdraw his officially announced first employment contract law, when faced by strong reactions in the street, particularly by young people.

To build a broad response

The different union confederations have their own objectives and no common plan of action. Mélenchon obviously has his own personal political goals. There is no clear mobilisation plan.

But the demonstrations of September 12th, 21st, 23rd, each in its own way contributed to a mobilisation that can still build up to a general movement. If we all get into it. And this begins with responding to the calls to action.

On the 25th it will be the truckers’ turn, on October 10th the public servants, called by their unions – why a separate day for public servants, they definitely face the same problems as all other workers!

All these calls to action, whatever their form, can become a support to build a global movement that will lead to real strikes that come together and become so massive that they really hurt the bosses’ wallets.

We must build the momentum by participating in all the days of actions planned in the next few days – whether we work in the public or private sectors. Importantly, October 10th should be an interprofessional day of action, not just a public servants strike.