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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #289 - Renault: At the Douai plant, " production ? It is death " (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Tue, 1 Jan 2019 09:11:07 +0200

At the factory, since the battles lost against Labor laws, unionism is weakened, and the atmosphere as gray as our work blues. There is enough to revolt: violence and dangerous repetitive work, shenanigans, intimidation and threats ... It is the temporary workers who suffer the most. ---- Already 4 am, the alarm clock pulls me out of bed. A few minutes later I am in the kitchen, in blue work, swallowing a coffee and ... some pills to relieve tendon pain. It is only Wednesday and already the fatigue of the week is accumulating. My old Ford starts, phew ! Let's go for the daily commute, with the same cars on the road, the same people, the same car park on which I park after having crossed the large porch proclaiming " Welcome to the Georges-Besse factory - Renault Douai ".

Georges Besse, the CEO of Renault executed by the group Direct Action in 1986, considered that this factory, built in 1970, was " a mistake " . At the time, the state-owned shareholder had insisted that it be implanted in the Douaisis, promised mass unemployment by the closure of coal mines. By the end of the 1970s, 8,500 employees were working there. Today we are 3,400 on permanent contracts ; 800 to 1,300 temporary workers according to the periods ; 15 to 20 % of women.

On the chain the pace (61 vehicles per hour !) Is untenable, despite anxiolytics and painkillers.
The production is divided between several buildings, on nearly 350 hectares. In the " DB building ", we receive and assemble the organs of the engines: starter, alternator, radiator and a whole lot of other stuff ... In stamping and sheet metal buildings, huge presses the size of a small building transform large rolls of sheet metal (each costs millions of euros ...) in covers, sides of cases, wings, etc. They will then be welded and assembled by robots before deburring. At the painting building, the still naked crates are immersed in huge baths of paint before sending them to the assembly building, the " DA ". ". There, on an assembly line that runs on two floors, all the rest of the vehicle is assembled (dashboard, steering wheel, seats, electronics, options, windows). The completed vehicle is tested, then parked on a parking lot from which the trucks of the Cat will embark the Space, Talisman and other Scenic.

Struggles among temporary workers
At this moment, on the factory, the atmosphere is as gray as our work blues. The lost battle against the labor laws weighs heavily on morale. Two combative unions coexist on the site. The CGT is quite close to unsubstantial France, and SOUTH more politically independent, but both carry similar claims and often act together. Unfortunately, the intermittent calls to the strike, in 2016 and 2017, mobilized only convinced. On one of the days of action, a group of young temporary workers was on the verge of going on strike, but the management has stifled the rebellion in the bud. The team leaders came running to threaten them ( " It's forbidden for temporary workers ! And your contract ? "). SOUTH and the CGT, parties in protest at that time, could not intervene, and there was nothing to expect from FO and the CFDT, non-strikers for the most part.

Reformers (claimed) of FO, the majority, do not hesitate to explain to the operators that they have more to gain by collaborating with the management rather than by fighting. Only the CFDT is more yellow, with caricature leaflets boasting of " winning " rolls and sweets for the staff !

Compulsory volunteering infernal rates
There is enough to revolt at Renault Douai. At the very bottom of the scale, it is the temporary workers who cash the most, forced to accept overtime. They are the first victims of Saturday said " volunteering " - ironically renamed " voluntary volunteering " . The team leader regularly makes individual canvassing to fill his schedule of " volunteers " threatening them in a veiled way of non-renewal of their contract.

No wonder we drag our feet to work on Saturday in this factory worthy of Germinal . Violence of repetitive work, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), intimidation and threats, not to mention the dangerous working conditions, as at the PSA plant in Trith-Saint-Léger [1].

It was discovered that the chain was sometimes accelerated in secret ...
To the question " what is production ? Operators and operators will answer: " Production is death. On the chain, the pace (61 vehicles per hour !) Is grueling despite anxiolytics and painkillers. It was discovered that it was sometimes accelerated in secret, just to catch up. Before a delegate notices and protests, schemers put the speed back to normal ... This summer, because of high temperatures, an interim has caused discomfort. Chain stopped. Alerted, the head of the editing department came running. Not to take his news, but to assess the lost time and restart production as soon as possible.

In fact, it is common that if an agency worker is injured on the chain, the leaders dissuade him from going to the infirmary. A leader takes the wounded to the bathroom and then, a disinfectant blow on the wound, a bandage, and return to production. The goal ? Do not raise the curve of work accidents, to give a model factory image in terms of safety. We must " be competitive with the other factories of the group, " we are told, otherwise " the site will close " ! SUD and the CGT keep denouncing this organization of work, but the management turns a deaf ear, obsessed by its " kaizen " projects . Behind this managerial jargon and its goal of " improvement of ergonomics " hides a trivial reality: it is to locate the positions that could be removed to redistribute tasks to other workers, preferably temporary. For fear of losing his job, the interim does not protest ...

Fight against suffering at work
How to deal with the violence of bosses and work ? The only foci of possible resistance here are SOUTH and the CGT, even if they are weakened. It is through mutual help and collective struggle that everyone can gain confidence and invest. Today, we must fight for less suffering at work. Tomorrow, we will fight for the socialization of the means of production, under the control of the workers. When the first and the first concerned will organize the production themselves, it will be the end of the suffering, the reign of the chiefs and the mistreatment. We can invent a society rid of capitalism and Carlos Ghosn and Thierry Bolloré of all kinds !

Damien (AL Douai)

[1] Read " Peugeot-PSA: they push their pace, we count our dead ", Alternative libertarian , October 2018.

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