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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #298 - ulien Huard: "The CNT-SO, a tool in the class struggle" (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sat, 19 Oct 2019 11:14:00 +0300

The CNT-Solidarité ouvrière was born in 2012 from a split of the French CNT. In recent months, she has made a name for herself by animating struggles in the most precarious sectors of the proletariat. Julien Huard, his secretary confederal to the communication, answered the questions of Alternative libertarian. ---- AL: In 2012, you founded the CNT-SO, what were your motives ? ---- This is a question we have lost the habit of answering ( laughs ). The vast majority of our members did not know this time. But, to summarize: the CNT-F lacked a clear unifying orientation, and a joint union development project. Ideological tensions and a fantasy vision of self-management hindered the tactics of some structures, including the choice of the cleaning union to pay permanent ones.

And today, what is your implementation ?

Initially, the CNT-SO was created by activist nuclei from the Paris region, Lyon and Perpignan. Today, it is mainly active on the Paris-Lyon-Mediterranean axis, with some locations in other cities - particularly in Poitou. We are mainly located in the most precarious working sectors, primarily in the cleaning, but also in the catering and hospitality, construction, trade. We are also present in transportation, education, culture, the health-social sector, personal services and some industrial establishments ... In general, the more the union becomes known and the more we are solicited in various professional or geographical sectors.

What strategy have you adopted to revitalize your union and bring it into line with your revolutionary syndicalist project ?

The definition of a joint union development project, with tactics of field work, was our first concern, and we are still running this "program". We have chosen to work in the most vulnerable sectors, where the union presence is very weak. This could give good results. I am thinking, for example, of cleaning unions in Rhône-Alpes or Paca, which we have created from scratch, and which today are very dynamic tools of struggle.

It is necessary to rely on methodical field tours, targeting categories of employees or companies. Over a period of time, for example, we visit all the hotels in a given area to meet the maids subcontracted ... Each time with simple material to distribute, business cards and leaflets specific with points of attachment to enter into discussion. It's going to be a salary grid, points of labor law that are stuck, basic demands ... In short, nothing extraordinary, but we realize that few unions do this, and that there are has a huge expectation of employees. The returns are good: from the simple individual legal appointment to the constitution of a union team on a site.

From the beginning, we chose to pay for certain technical tasks to ensure efficiency that seemed out of reach with a 100% volunteer model . These are activists employed on own funds, no activists discharged by companies or administrations. And they do not have internal "political" mandates ...

If we make a balance sheet, this is where we set up this mixed model volunteers + employee · es that it works best. It allows us to hold daily duty, provide legal assistance, tour during working hours, support a permanence in case of struggle ...

Legal occupies a special place, and the fact of paying our own lawyers is not trivial. Today most unions work with lawyers. Our lawyers have legal skills to advise employees who come to see the CNT-SO, mount a defense ...

It is an essential foundation for a credible union tool if it is articulated with militant development work and a perspective of struggle. So, there is always the will to explain that the individual concern can also be a collective question, that there are the procedures but also the balance of power ... In this logic, be a lawyer at the CNT-SO it is as much mounting a folder prud'hommal that accompany a strike for weeks. To complete the system, militant training is very important, especially with a mass of neo-unionists without union or political experience. It is work that is often invisible, but of which we are proud.

Can you go back on the last struggles that the CNT-SO carried out ?

Since 2012, we have led dozens of strike movements and walkouts, mainly in the cleaning, in hotel outsourcing in Paris and Marseille, in the subway or clinic in Lyon ...

It was also possible to fight in other sectors: two-week movement in the Menton buses in January 2019, action against the closing of a crèche in Marseille in July 2018 ... It goes from the skirmish to conflicts that may last several months, such as WHO in 2015-2016, the Holiday Inn Clichy in 2017-2018 or the strike at NH Marseille which lasted more than five months.

The results are very positive with achievements such as 13 thmonth in cleaning, improved working conditions, respect imposed on small heads which are finally back. We even got a structural breakthrough, with the end of outsourcing to the Holiday Inn Clichy. Sign of the scope of these struggles, in hotel subcontracting - where we "graze" regularly with the CGT-HPE -, the government had to position itself publicly via Marlène Schiappa this summer.

I think that our modes of interventions, quite iconoclastic, detonate in a very encrusted trade union environment and confuse the bosses: festive pickets, occupations, mediatization, legal accompaniment, solidarity interpro ... In our actions, we cross totos, "rebellious", feminists, anarchists, cégétistes or southerners. We are at the crossroads of a union culture of old-fashioned struggle and more recent forms of activism.

We are aware that this remains modest. We do not have the strength to influence general issues. On the other hand, unionism being largely to be rebuilt, we think that it is by multiplying these small structures that we will build a class union alternative. Our goal is the creation of a union tool for combat, a revolutionary tool in an increasingly fierce class struggle ...

Interview by Jérémie Berthuin (UCL Gard)

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