“For another future”: the CGT, Solidaires and the FSU open the return to the union Thursday with a call for strikes and demonstrations throughout France, against job cuts and for wage increases, in this period of crisis.
“It is difficult to be heard but it has never been so necessary”, underlines to AFP Benoît Teste, secretary general of the FSU, for whom it is “important” not to let the ‘idea that protesting would go against national unity.
Covid requires, the organizers do not expect a strong attendance, but deem this “first” call necessary to allow employees to “get together”, after months of restrictions linked to the coronavirus.
“As soon as there is a problem, we lay off first, and we think afterwards. We propose to think first and after to take measures according to the realities”, declared Saturday on RTL Philippe Martinez, number one of the CGT, which sees this Thursday as an opportunity for employees to “defend themselves”.
In recent weeks, announcements of social plans or restructuring have multiplied: from the furniture brand Alinéa via Nokia, BFMTV / RMC or even on Wednesday the announcement of the closure of the Bridgestone factory in Béthune (Pas- de-Calais) which employs 863 people.
As of August 30, 345 job protection plans (PSE), representing up to 51,000 jobs, had been identified since March, against 231 over the same period last year.
The secretary general of the CGT had launched his call for mobilization on July 9, almost two months before the announcement of a recovery plan of 100 billion euros, which disappointed the unions by its “absence” of counterparts for companies and measures for “second line” employees during the health crisis.
This plan, “announced with great fanfare, is only aimed at companies, which will be able to benefit in particular from an exemption from production taxes of up to 10 billion euros per year and without any conditions or compensation”, regret the CGT, the FSU, Solidaires and the youth organizations Fidl, MNL, Unef and UNL, organizers of the mobilization.
-“Crowd movement” –
More than a hundred rallies / demonstrations are organized during the day, according to the CGT, with the slogan “Mobilized for another future”.
Among the demands: wage increases, “definitive” abandonment of pension reforms and unemployment insurance, reduction of working time “without loss of salary”, increase in the minimum wage …
In Paris, the demonstration will leave at 2:00 p.m. from République, direction Nation.
The ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people remains in force to prevent the spread of the virus but the authorities have so far turned a blind eye to the overruns, both for the demonstrations of the “yellow vests” on September 12, as for the mobilizations of hospital staff in June-July, which had brought together tens of thousands of people.
“We will do everything to ensure that barrier gestures are applied, with the wearing of masks and distancing. It is also important that the police have the right instructions so that there is no movement of the crowd. “, explains Céline Verzeletti, CGT manager.
Strike notices have been filed with SNCF and RATP but almost a year to the day after a very popular call in the Paris metro against the pension reform, the situation may turn out to be significantly different. The rail group is forecasting generally normal traffic, while the RATP has predicted a movement which will have “no impact”.
But the activists are motivated.
“There may have been 4.7 billion donated to the railway but for the moment, there is zero for railway workers and zero for users too,” said Laurent Brun, head of the CGT-Cheminots, on Tuesday. stressing that “railway workers are not under-employed”.