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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #296 - Emergency strike: The return of striker coordination? (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]
Fri, 12 Jul 2019 09:56:25 +0300
More than 120 emergency services affected, a strike whose structure is reminiscent of the
1988 movement ... The national strike committee brings together the Inter-Emergency
Collective, delegates from the regions, and joined the SOUTH unions, CGT and FO. How does
all this work? ---- In June, the fight in the emergency services suddenly intensified.
Overworked, under-staffed, faced with the misunderstanding of users and users, emergency
staff - like the entire hospital world - is disgusted at not being able to do their job
properly. ---- The first victims of austerity policies are the most vulnerable
populations. Health centers are asphyxiated, institutions for the elderly are managed
according to financial logic, psychiatry is attacked by the shift of its tasks to the
disability sector, medical deserts spread in working-class neighborhoods and rural areas .
And what remains as recourse, when everything has been dismantled? The emergencies. This
explains the explosion of calls to reception and emergency services (UAS). The government
and the regional health agencies (LRAs) will always be able to cry out about the lack of
good citizenship and the undue calls, the reality is that the SAU are, for some and some,
the last places of accessible care.
But once the care decision is made, patients often have to wait a long time in the UAA
because finding a place for hospitalization is a feat ...
Wave of sick leave
These situations led some Parisian UAS to go on strike in the spring. A group of
caregivers mobilized in Paris then created the Inter-Emergency Collective. Rapidly the
movement spread to all the UAA of the Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP) then to
the whole territory. In many places, the strike has taken the form of a massive wave of
sick leave. The Minister, Agnes Buzyn, denounced a usurpation of sick leave and
recommended that the caregivers in struggle declare themselves on strike ... while coming
to work with a "strike" armband . To work for free, that will certainly force the ministry
to listen to the demands!
In reality, these sick leaves, if they actually work around the minimum service
obligation, are not fictitious. Emergency staff are exhausted, exhausted, but generally
refrain from filing sick leave. This time, they allowed themselves, collectively, in a
logic of struggle!
The pivotal role of the Inter-Emergency Collective
Here and there, groups of strikers wished to join the Collectif inter-urgences. To become
affiliated, it is enough for them to resume, in addition to their local themes, three
unifying demands: "No hospitalization on stretchers; increase in the workforce; 300 euros
Finally, the Inter-Emergency Collective created a national strike committee, formalized
during a first meeting at the Paris Labor Exchange on May 25th. The national strike
committee is made up of two delegates per major medical region (corresponding to the 12
LRAs), the Inter-Emergency Collective, and associated with its action the SUD, CGT and FO
trade union federations. Indeed, only the latter are authorized to file strike notices.
On paper, the desire for self-organization is there, even if one wonders about the
perimeter chosen to designate delegates to the national strike committee. The territory of
an LRA can be very large, and the distances between SAU in fight will pose a problem of
control of the mandates. In comparison, the 1988 National Nursing Coordinates brought
together delegates from each striking hospital.
If the governments of the time refused coordination as interlocutor, the ministry of 2019
seems ready to deal directly with the national strike committee, which has the mandate to
lead the negotiations.
Support from the union network
The SUD-Health union of the AP-HP has respected this desire for self-organization. He
invested himself to allow the holding of the national meeting of May 25 and invited
members of the Collective Inter-emergency in the union delegations received at the Ministry.
This joint work has borne fruit, with the network of union branches spreading the movement
into new AAUs - on June 18, the number of 120 services in struggle has been surpassed.
Trade union means (strike notice, finances, premises, visibility) are essential for the
members of collectives who, in turn, rejuvenate unions with their creativity and their
mastery of digital tools.
This cooperation between collectives and unions may seem obvious, but alas the history of
hospital social movements has often been peppered with conflicting relationships between
attempts at coordination and device logic.
From this point of view, the recent mutation of the Collectif inter-urgences in
association law 1901, questions. Does he wish to perpetuate himself? He would then be led
to play a de facto, or parasyndical, union role. Does he really want to become an
additional player in an already well-organized trade union field?
The government initially responded to the demands with its usual arrogance. However, the
minister's announcements on June 14 showed that this movement, largely supported by public
opinion, worried the authorities.
The announced 70 million euro budget increase seems ridiculous in light of expectations.
This would only allow a risk premium of 100 euros, and the creation of a half-post more
per emergency service!
Provocative, Agnès Buzyn also proposed to raise the ceiling of overtime to 20 hours per
month! This is to suggest that exhausted agents can work even harder.
No corporatism, long live the class struggle!
Trade unionists must remember that fighting for a better hospital requires a comprehensive
analysis of the situation and the balance of power. If the state of emergencies is
critical, the situation in all services is just as worrying. Here and there, other care
services wish to join the movement and put their concerns on the table.
The mediatization of carers should also benefit technical, manual and administrative
personnel. Not very visible and often threatened by job cuts, these colleagues are the
first victims of the privatization attempts.
The hospital does not suffer from a lack of organization or a lack of adaptability. What
it lacks is the money from employers' contributions that escape Social Security. Repealing
the exemptions granted by successive governments (UMP, PS, LRM ...) is to revive the offer
of care. The additional posts are in the coffers of the employers!
Solow (UCL Paris Nord-Est)
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