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(en) Union Communiste Libertaire Bruxelles - In Health as in STIB: let's build union struggle and self-management! (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 28 May 2020 09:37:20 +0300

By the Front Syndicalistes Révolutionnaires of UCL Brussels ---- The latest press release from La santé en Lutte illustrates the importance of the balance of power created by the autonomous mobilization of caregivers which forces the government, with the benevolent contribution of the unions, to reactivate the so-called social concertation to obtain social peace. ---- As this press release very well concludes, it is essential to remain mobilized in the struggle because only the pressure of workers will force the state to capitulate in the face of their demands: " Mobilization is the ultimate weapon to obtain victories! Greater achievements are within our reach! We therefore call on all colleagues in the sector to continue the actions and take advantage of strike notices to maintain the balance of power. Otherwise, negotiations are unlikely to lead to real progress. "

The events of the past few weeks at STIB and in the public health sector have been instructive on the role of trade unions.

The wildcat strike at STIB illustrated the lack of democracy and fighting spirit of the big unions and their disconnection from the reality of workers. The attitude of union leaders who do not support grassroots demands by hiding behind an agreement with management - signed without even consulting the workers - perfectly illustrates their role as employers' partners in place of that of defender of workers' claims.

In the public health sector, strike notice deposits immediately followed by the opening of union negotiations following the government's "outstretched hand" should not fool us about the role played by unions.

Indeed, following the unraveling and breakage of the public health sector set up by the state in recent years, the caregivers, angry, organized and mobilized in order to create a balance of power with the aim to impose their claims ( https://lasanteenlutte.org/nos-revendications/ ). This movement was strengthened by the support of public opinion, who could only note during the Covid-19 crisis the catastrophic consequences of this policy of underfunding of the health sector. Under pressure, the government therefore decided to play the dialogue card by reactivating union consultation with the clear aim of regaining public opinion and obtaining social peace.

While the balance of power is leaning in favor of workers, the unions have immediately responded positively to this "outstretched hand". Thus, by making the choice to open negotiations so quickly and suspend the strike notice, they consciously and voluntarily choose to calm the revolt and the dynamics of the workers. instead of strengthening and hardening the balance of power in their favor - a balance of power yet necessary in order to impose all of their claims.

Obviously, they play the role of partner of the government and the employers. They settle in a non-combative position of intermediary in the service of the state instead of defending the interests of the nursing staff. Their own statements perfectly illustrate this role:

" It is unfortunate that we had to arrive at filing notices to be heard and to start a consultation. But the message got through and now let's turn the page. Let's say chick, we're going to get a revaluation . If we realize that there is no budget and that we are pulled from the ends of the strings, we will resume our freedom " Yves Hellendorff. (non-market national secretary of the CNE) .

As revolutionary unionists, we condemn this bureaucratic unionism and affirm the need to get out of this form of institutionalized unionism, cut off from its base and, in fact, at the service of employers.

The spontaneous strike without the support of the unions at STIB and the balance of power created by the mobilization and the autonomous organization of the nursing staff (forcing the government to retreat), prove that the workers do not need to unions playing the role of intermediary but combat unions that emanate directly from the base, organized horizontally and rejecting professionalization and union bureaucracy.

Let's build struggle and self-management unionism!

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