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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL - Unionists and anarchists, There 40 years: the great strike of PTT (fr, pt) [machine translation]

Date Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:54:09 +0200


The year 1974 was marked by protest movements in the services sectors. Successively in the banks, PTT, more modestly to the SNCF, these strikes are going to blow a breeze of creativity and self-organization directly related to the force projection of May 68. But it is the strike of PTT by its ability to think the normal running of the company, which will be the centerpiece of this financial year. ---- Unionists and anarchists, a history of UTCL (1974-1991) Theo Rival ---- Strike in the fall of 1974 PTT is probably one of the most important in the social history of this professional sector. Started in sorting centers, it extends to all postal services but also telecommunications (then together in a single public service, PTT). It takes its place in the glow of 68 years, this decade of working insubordination (1) and all-round challenge, the bell will ring with the defeat of the Lorraine steel industry in 1979 (2) and, in the process, the coming to power of the PS Mitterrand in 1981. But six years after 1968, and there are many many employee-es who are still convinced that "everything depends on the fight." This is the time when the various far-left organizations distinguish the emergence of a radical pole among workers. The Communist League speaks for example of "broad proletarian vanguard" of anarchist militants Revolutionary Organization (ORA) "left working."

Prelude: the bank strike

LIP strike demonstrated (3) the existence of a substantial fraction of the proletariat radicalized in 68 years is not a leftist fad: not absolutely confine these categories, younger workers, workers, immigrant-es upset the traditional balance. And even in the service sector, especially in this year 1974. In the banks, the strike starts in February. It takes four to nine weeks in those affiliated with the Professional Association of Banks (APB) or the Chambre Syndicale des Banques Populaires, two weeks at the Banque de France. On wages and working conditions, conflict is particularly strong at Credit Lyonnais and BNP. The movement culminated on March 28 with a national rally of 50,000 bank employees marching in the PDB at the Ministry of Finance. But it is mainly by means of action implemented the bank strike in February, March and April 1974 stands out. She won the qualifier of "May the banks."

Authors of a collective work published in October 1974, the leaders of the CFDT sector devote a chapter to the "modes of action" (4). They make a statement: "For the stock commonly practiced in the industry, such as occupations, joined with the imaginative spirit of 1968 and EA 1973, other forms of newer fight." The first modality put forward is that the democratization of the action. If the authors welcome the daily general meetings, they consider that the establishment of strike committees at Credit Lyonnais and BNP Paris, have "helped [...], by increasing the militants who are revealed, the extension of the movement. " The cédétistes officials are not however without reservations, because it is still necessary that the said strike committees have been "democratically elected" or that "their attitude was not blocked by anti-union irrelevant." The formation of strike committees is then debate within teams and among many union workers radicalized. It is a real "workhorse" for CFDT leftists. 36th Congress of the CFDT confederation of Nantes (May 30-June 3, 1973), activists of the Communist League are twenty delegated by their union structures. They and they defend an amendment in favor of strike committees which gets 15% of the vote (5). Behind this question of strike committees, it is the more comprehensive, self-organization and the leadership of the struggle by the workers themselves being asked. Libertarians are not left who constantly hammer the centrality of "the general meeting of all workers (unionized or non-unionized)" recalling that "social self through self-management struggles" (6) . After the banks, the strike will be a new PTT self-organizing experience.

Radical and creative: the strike strikers!

If the banks, the movement died in April, in October, La Poste, a long strike starts. Party October 17 the sorting of Lyon Station, it is in this type of facility that the strike, which will extend until December 2, will be followed with more intensity. On October 23, the first demonstration in the streets of Paris has nearly 10,000 strikers. On November 15, a month after the start of hostilities, 91% of personal sorting centers are still on strike (7). The motion shall include the issue of staffing. In the sorting of the Paris region, the number of auxiliary precarious personal, increased by 50% in ten years, from 1965 to 1974. In the early 1970s, it is almost 20-25% of the Parisian staff sorting center that is ancillary. The sorting of Paris-Brune include such aids on 1460 380 postal workers. This is the case militants ORA group established in this sorting. Easily licensable, auxiliaries are paid less than the incumbents for the same work. Movement 1974 will claim their massive tenure.

In this central claim there are others, more conventional, higher wages and improved working conditions. The entry of personnel télécomunicants in action is also linked to the fear of dismantling PTT, with the scenario of a session of the US telecom industry trust ITT (8). Finally, do not overlook the latent dispute inherited from May 68, the hierarchy of the PTT, which echo the lyrics of the strikers that the CFDT federation PTT publish in the 45s to end of the movement: "It is framed in difficulty / On our record, we must strive / We're tied, no right to speak / And we must beg to go pee." The blunder of the Secretary of State for PTT Pierre Lelong, who, on October 22, has quietly found on the airwaves that work in sorting centers is among "the most idiots" who are only accentuates the desire for battle. Intense work of popularization is supported by the strikers themselves and the postal strike is characterized by a real creative explosion with comics, songs, theatrical interventions ... (9). The negotiations at the national level between union leaders and government, rife but the general assemblies of strikers are attentive, the debate and vote daily further movement.

"For the PTT as elsewhere: the power workers'

Despite the introduction of parallel sorting, mail flow almost: piles of mail bags piled up in sorting centers will strike a strong images of a strike (10). But we must reckon with a newly installed power Giscardian - since May - and unwilling to yield. The strikers then wait a postal relay peers railway. Parties on November 4, outbreaks of railwaymen strike off the 11 action focusing on the inter-day strike "square", that is to say, limited to twenty-four hours of 19 November, called by the CGT and CFDT. Railwaymen, who lived a qualified "June leftist 'strike in 1971, not épauleront postal workers in a face-to-face with the power (11). On November 21, the CGT and CFDT union leaders call for resumption of work to PTT to "continue the fight in other ways" ... that will not strike. On December 2, the recovery is general.

But these 45 days are an opportunity to strike a significant radicalization of the struggle, inventiveness and creativity in the strike that hits the mind. Beyond that, the historian Bruno Mahouche also believes that with the 1974 strikes in services, "the labor movement during the war boom, was not limited to the industrial sector." He added that "to oppose the employer domination via social struggles, he could count on a few strongholds, such as sorting, which can be assumed to constitute a strategic issue for the unions." This is a view shared by the leftists PTT issue, including those of the ORA, which will bathe in this movement like fish in water (12).

In January 1974, activists and activists ORA PTT have developed a flexible structure of corporate groups publishing a newsletter, The Postman freed. In the center of Inter-Archives, the largest telecom operators and operators of Paris center, the ORA group regularly publishes The way r'tour, local supplement Postman freed. Same thing at the sorting of Paris-Brune, nicknamed "the PTT Billancourt", where seems Break. In December, libertarian communists PTT holding back on their response they have "tested an organizational formula that has proven successful." The Postman prepaid coordination of libertarian communist groups of companies, including the majority located sorting centers in Paris, but also telecom, postal checks and province, was able to provide, week after week, concrete proposals and criticisms "13. To contribute to the popularization of the fight and go to the strikers, the prepaid Postman meeting held at 33 rue des Vignoles November 7. During the strike, activists ORA support self-organization and extension of the action. They and they support the unitary platform: 1700 minimum francs, 200 francs for all; tenure auxiliaries; increase in enrollment; improvement of working conditions. But Postman prepaid groups are also developing strategic proposals to support the self-organization: national march on Paris; occupancy; creation of collective solidarity postal-users; direct and horizontal linkages general meetings of strikers 14. What course do not bear the CGT and CFDT union leaders. While the strike is waning, lower rates still reflects the fighting spirit of postmen. The administration of PTT response by the dismissal of many assistants, especially those who have distinguished themselves during the strike: the case of the secretary of the CFDT section of the sorting station of the East, otherwise ORA activist.

Gather the left working

Libertarian Front in December 1974 postmen ORA devoted a long article balance to strike. Referring to the different animation committees, they believe that they have proved the existence of a "new wave, left reformism, consisting of young workers most often unorganized [...] seriously disturbing devices. "It is in these committees' spontaneous responses to the needs of the struggle," what the exemplary nature of the strike. Yet the centrality of trade unionism, the authors of this article can not evacuate, considering the "significant adaptability of the union bureaucracies needs based" strike back but noting that despite the "obvious failure" of these bureaucracies, "for general problems as for local problems [...] workers maintain and retain full confidence in their" representatives "." The article concluded by the need for a revolutionary work "both in and outside union locals" playing all the potentialities of the period: both speak to the radicalized fringe in action and seize the union tool to not let the reformists and bureaucrats. A strategy based on the development of power-cons and based on practical experience of the strike action.

1. Xavier Vigna, The Insubordination working in the 68 years of political history test factories, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2007
2. See "In 1979: The People's Republic of Longwy" Libertarian Alternative No. 182, March 2009.
3. "1973: Lip Lip Lip Hooray! "Alternative libertarian No. 229, June 2013
4. Bégot Georges, Alain Delangre, Antoinette Langlois, The "May" banks, Syros, 1974
5. Jean-Paul Salles, Revolutionary Communist League (1968-1981), Grand Soir instrument or learning venue, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2006
6. The Postman freed, "Journal of Libertarian workers PTT", No. 1, January 1974
7. Bruno Mahouche, "The Origins of the strike PTT fall 1974," Journal of the IRES 51, 2006
8. LCR, Red Phone number "special dismantling PTT," December 1974, available on Asmsfqi.org
9. François Maspero, CFDT-PTT, Idiots thousands. Dismantling PTT strike 1974, 1975
10. Vincent Bouget, Strike PTT autumn 1974 and the media, the Committee on the History of Post 2003
11. Christian Chevandier, Railway strike or the construction of identity (1848-2001), Maisonneuve & Larose, 2002
12. Theo Rival Unionists and libertarians, a history of UTCL (1974-1991) editions AL, 2013
13. "Order reigns PTT" libertarian Front of class struggles No. 37, December 1974
14. "What to do? "Postman tract free from December 1974

Related Link: http://www.alternativelibertaire.org/?-AL-de-novembre-est-en-kiosque-
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