[Marxism] France general strike threatened

rrubinelli rrubinelli at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 19 13:26:53 MST 2006

will be there 3/26-29, in the meantime check out:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Russell Morse" <russell.morse at yahoo.com>
To: "Marxmail" <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2006 2:42 PM
Subject: [Marxism] France general strike threatened

> [If anyone on this list is in France, it would be good to have
> some direct reporting and commentary on these events.]
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/4822986.stm
> France general strike threatened
> French trade union leaders are threatening to call a general strike
> unless the government withdraws a new youth employment law by Monday.
> More than 160 people were arrested on Saturday after violence erupted
> Paris following a day of largely peaceful demonstrations across
> Police used tear gas and water cannon to battle masked youths who
> smashed shop windows and set vehicles alight.
> Trades unions say the law will allow employers to exploit young
> But the government says it will cut youth unemployment by making the
> labour market more flexible.
> 48-hour deadline
> Unions said 1.5 million demonstrators took part in more than 150
> across the country against the government's First Employment Contract
> (CPE) on Saturday.
> Of course it is an ultimatum. The government and the president have
> effectively 48 hours to decide Rene Valadon Workers' Force union
> The interior ministry put the overall turnout at just over 500,000.
> Protest organisers have given Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin
> Monday night to withdraw the legislation, at which point union leaders
> will meet to decide what to do next.
> "Of course it is an ultimatum. The government and the president have
> effectively 48 hours to decide," Rene Valadon from the Workers' Force
> (FO) union said.
> Bernard Thibault, head of the powerful General Labour Confederation
> (CGT), said that "if nothing moves we will propose preparing a day of
> general work stoppages in the coming days. Conditions are such that it
> should be a success".
> President under pressure
> Government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope said on Saturday night that
> government wanted dialogue, but gave no indication that it was
> to withdraw the law.
> "Beyond the passions of the moment, don't we all have an interest in a
> dialogue? The door is open," Mr Cope said.
> Student and union leaders have been calling upon President Jacques
> Chirac to not sign the law, as he is required to do for it to take
> effect as expected in April.
> Protesters are bitterly opposed to the new law, which allows employers
> to end job contracts for under-26s at any time during a two-year trial
> period without having to offer an explanation or give prior warning.
> The government says it will encourage employers to hire young people,
> but students fear it will erode job stability in a country where more
> than 20% of 18 to 25-year-olds are unemployed.
> The demonstrations came after a series of mass protests by students in
> dozens of French universities, which have severely disrupted classes.
> Twenty-four people, including seven police officers, were injured in
> Saturday's violence, which lasted about six hours.
> Sorbonne rally
> The violence broke out at the eastern Place de la Nation as police
> attempted to disperse demonstrators following a mainly peaceful march
> through the capital involving students, workers, pensioners and
> families.
> Demonstrators hurled stones and bottles at officers, who eventually
> drove them back, charging the crowd and using tear gas grenades.
> Several cars were set on fire and nearby shop windows smashed.
> About 500 students then marched on Paris' Sorbonne university in the
> Latin Quarter, chanting: "Liberate the Sorbonne."
> Job security threat
> Clashes also erupted in other cities, including the port of Marseille,
> where demonstrators tried to set fire to the entrance to the town
> One officer was injured and six youths were arrested, police said.
> Mr de Villepin proposed the CPE law as part of a series of measures
> designed to help youths in the French suburbs who took to the streets
> last year.
> The BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says the protests have gained their
> own momentum, turning into the worst crisis that Mr de Villepin has
> to face since taking office last year.
> The contracts have been seen by students and many on the left as an
> attack on job security at a time when many in France are feeling
> threatened by globalisation and any hint of change at home.
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