Home > Some informations about the October 18th massive Strike in France

Some informations about the October 18th massive Strike in France

by Open-Publishing - Sunday 21 October 2007

Un/Employment Strikes France

Since 1993, the Pensions are attacked by capitalists. The workers of private sector had to give 40 years of dues instead of 37,5 years since 1993 and retirement at 60. In 1995, the governement tried to attack railways workers retires. He also wanted to close 6 000 km of railways. These two attacks were fighted by railways workers by a victorious strike of 3 weeks. We obtain a delay of 12 years before the new attack of this year.

In 2003, the governement change the conditions of Pensions for public sector workers. They were imposed the same conditions like private sector : 40 years od dues and retirement at 60. Railways workers striked in solidarity with the public sector but the general strike was a defeat.

This year, it is the turn to the last workers with good Pensions : retirement at 50 for train drivers and 55 for all others (railways SNCF, underground of Paris RATP, electricians EDF…).

The first day of strike, october 18 was a great succes : 75 % of strikers instead of 45 % ussually in SNCF (railways), 80 % of electricians, 70 % in RATP… But this success was probably due to the one day strike appeal. Lots of managers and chiefs and others shy workers participated whether usually they don’t.

In railways where I work, the main union CGT wanted only 24 hours strike. The second union SUD and a craft union of drivers FGAAC wanted to have a Unlimited strike. Some establishments where these unions are strong voted to continue the strike this week but the movement is weak.

The railways workers federations will decide the continuation of the movement monday, the 22nd of october. We all know that a one day strike won’t be enough to win. This governement is prepared to fight like UK Thatcher governement in 1984.

The new french president has campaigned for the presidentials by dividing workers. Public workers would be privileged than private sector workers. He promised to attack our Pensions. The capitalists want to break our retirement at 50 and 55 to increase all workers retirement age after. They promised to elevate 40 years dues to 41 in 2008 and 42 in 2012.

The medias owned by capitalists and state every days campain to make private workers jealous of public ones. The problem of the union movement is that our members are more in public sector than private. We have great difficulties to mobilize the private workers.

The only way we could make unity beetwen private and public is to fight for early retirement age for hard works. A good reason is that workers die 7 years sooner than boss. But the unionisation of private workers has great delay. That is the reason why CSR militants are involved in territorials union organisations of CGT to organise private sector workers. We have recently written a document to train militants to do this job. But the main problem is that CGT has abandonned the industrial unions in 1950 to enterprise union. The unionists have developped a craft union mentality and they don’t really want to involve in Local Unions (Bourses du Travail).

We made some improvements in this work but there are lot to do more. For example I participated to the cleaning union meeting of my town the last week. The union is so bad organised that we had no time to speak about pensions.

We also can think that the governement want the railway workers to have a defeat. We are a union fortress as 20% of railways workers are unionised. The french proletariat is less than 10% unionised. Capitalists would be very glad to break that force. The governement don’t only attack us about pensions but also about the unions rights. They want to compel each transport worker to declare if we’ll be on strike or not. A vote about the continuation of the strike would be compulsary after 8 days and organised by the boss.

The railways workers are ususally active in class movements so we can ask if they don’t want to beat us like miners inUK in 1985.

CSR Rennes