Motion agreed at our branch committee on 21 January 2020
This branch notes:
The fourth national day of strikes and demonstrations across France on 9th January saw massive action against French president Emmanuel Macron’s attacks on pensions. According to union figures, 370,000 people marched in Paris—up by 20,000 from the last day of national action on 17 December. Elsewhere 120,000 took to the streets in Toulouse, 35,000 in the port city of Le Havre, 30,000 in Rouen, 27,000 in Lyon and 25,000 in Grenoble. In Marseille 220,000 people took part, an increase from the 150,000 on 5 and 10 December and 200,000 on 17 December.
Those marching across France included striking rail and public transport workers, refinery, hospital and civil service workers, dockers, teachers, firefighters, barristers, Yellow Vests and more.
Across the country about half of teachers were out on strike, 60 percent in Paris. Over two-thirds of train drivers and nearly 60 percent of train controllers struck according to management figures. Only a skeleton service—staffed by managers and a few scabs—ran on the Paris Metro. All eight oil refineries in France started a four-day strike from 12 noon on Tuesday 7th January. The CGT union reported that this halted the movement of fuel by tanker or pipeline completely.
The government still wants £10.2 billion cuts in pension spending and a system that will mean most people working longer and get less.
This branch believes:
- The strikers are correct to reject Macron’s partial climb-down (which will still leave most people worse off)
- There is a danger that the union leaders will allow the strikers to be isolated.
- That in the UK it is our duty to show solidarity and to raise awareness of the strikes through our unions, despite the near total news blackout.
This branch supports:
- The call for a general strike in France to secure full victory
- ‘Twinning’ with our sister union in France to update our members on what is happening and to develop solidarity between French and British workers
- A donation to the Strike fund of £50