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

October 9th, 2017

While visiting Corrèze, Emmanuel Macron was heckled by the workers at GM&S, an automobile subcontractor, threatened by 157 layoffs. He had to declare that instead of “stirring up trouble” these demonstrators had better look for a job. In early September, after the first demonstrations against his rulings that change the labour code in favour of the bosses, he had already said that demonstrators were “lazy”, “radical”, and that he would not back down. So, as soon as we go into the streets, Macron lashes out and looks down his nose at us, as president of the rich. This means we’re doing the right thing, and it’s high time for workers to “stir up trouble” (to use presidential language) against the objectives of the government and the bosses.

Make our response stronger

We already started with the September 12th and 21st demonstrations. We now follow up with the strikes and demonstrations of October 10th. This is just a start.

Because Macron gives the red-carpet treatment to the rich. The wealth tax is replaced by a lower tax on real estate. After an outcry about yachts, which were also going to escape the wealth tax, it seems they may still be subject to a small tax. But the decrease in wealth tax will still result in a €3 billion shortfall for the State. They never mention government deficit when they give gifts to the rich. On the other hand, it was urgent to decrease individual housing assistance!

Because the rulings on the Labour Law means more freedom for the bosses to lay off workers and to ignore the already few protections given by the Labour Code.

And because the government does not plan to stop here. They are already announcing new blows coming in the next few weeks: attacks on unemployment benefits and social security, increase in social security contributions, etc.

Nothing to expect from the chitchat between unions and government

No need to mention the negotiations starting October 12th, since the government has already decided what it will do. Perhaps a few unions will play the game and even find good things in Macrons reforms, as Mailly, general secretary of Force Ouvrière said about Macrons rulings. That was a bad idea, since many militants of that union denounced him and participated in the demonstrations anyway. Obviously, we have nothing good to expect from these discussions in minister offices.

October 10th concerns all of us

All public sector unions are calling for a strike on October 10th, in part due to Macron’s announcement of frozen wages and 120,000 job cuts.

The heads of the union confederations decided not to make it a day of action for all workers. But in several companies, militants or local unions called for workers to participate, beyond just public sector workers.

We are all concerned by wages and job cuts. The attacks from the bosses and the government are aimed at all the workers, public or private sector, retired or unemployed.

This day of action will allow many workers to express their anger at the government’s plans. It must be a new step toward building a riposte: a global movement to match Macron’s attacks. We shouldn’t stay divided, with one industry protesting one day, and another industry protesting another day.

From now on, we must seize all opportunities to go toward this movement.