Lutte Ouvrière is “against unemployment” and wants to “forbid lay-offs”
Photo: Anne-Sophie Raujol

On October 5, the French political party Lutte Ouvrière held a rally. The main participants consisted of the party leader, Nathalie Artaud, and Jean Pierre Mercier, leader of the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) union. Other participants included the workers at PSA the Aulnay-Sous-Bois factory of the Peugeot-Citroën group that cut a lot of jobs over the summer.

Mercier pointed out that the PSA case was not isolated, and that there were a lot of similar cases throughout France. As a result, he defended the idea that “in this capitalism in crisis, no employee is safe.”

Mercier also emphasised the fact that the CGT union had published the Varin plan, which described the company’s plan to cut jobs. The employers totally denied this in front of the media, advocating that it was only a suggestion. A few months later, however, the plan was carried out and 8,000 people lost their jobs.

However, these job cuts did not only affect the factory employees. It also affected PSA’s subcontractors and the surrounding department as a whole, which relied on the economic activity drawn by the factory.

Although Hollande and his government first defended the employees, one of the first concrete measures was to establish an automobile plan, which allowed more funds to factories and implicitly to employers without asking for any guarantees for chief executives.

Mercier highlighted the fact that the massive lay-offs could have been avoided by better sharing the work between all the factories within the group.

Mercier claimed for a tax on the employers to share with the workers. Thus, the workers will see and enjoy the fruits of their labor. However, the government is unlikely to change the current situation; as a result, Mercier asked for a union of the employees, a “battle as a whole” to have a better distribution of work between everyone. Additionally, this action will present a prohibition of every dismissal, under the virtue of everyone’s right to have a job, which emphasizes his point with the quote from one of the party mottos: “Strike is the force of workers!”