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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL - press release: State of health emergency: let's also impose a state of social emergency ! (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 25 Mar 2020 07:52:52 +0200

The state of health emergency and the accompanying legislative arsenal is the only way, in the eyes of the government, to prevent a health disaster by taking matters firmly in hand. For our part, it is a state of social emergency that we must defend in order to define our own priorities: protecting the health and rights of workers but also ensuring that the needs of the entire population are met, without trying to save the profits of the capitalists. ---- The government has introduced governing the postponement of the 2 th round of municipal elections, allowing it to declare a "health emergency" and opening the possibility of legislating by ordinances on many topics. What is at stake with this bill ? Strengthen the powers of the State to prevent a health disaster, "relieve" businesses and adapt the functioning of society to containment measures.

The bill already adopted in the Senate is divided into three large parts:

the first part concerns municipal elections ;
the second part defines the framework of the state of health emergency ;
the third part arms the government to adapt the legal and regulatory framework to the exceptional situation.
Do not let the state manage the health and social emergency alone
A state of health emergency may be declared in the Council of Ministers for a period of 12 days - a period which can be extended by law. Within this framework, the Prime Minister will be able to limit certain fundamental freedoms (freedom of movement, freedom to undertake, freedom of assembly) and will be able to decide on the requisitions of all the goods and the services making it possible to fight against the health catastrophe. The Minister of Health may prescribe all general or individual measures to combat the health disaster.

The problem is clear: if the epidemic continues to paralyze the economy, all production and distribution activities risk being interrupted, endangering the entire population. In a situation like this, there are only three possibilities: either the state firmly takes over the reins of the economy (discrediting in the process the economic liberalism that guides the action of successive governments), or The workers' camp happens to take matters into its own hands, or it is chaos.

For the government, the challenge is therefore to be able, if necessary, to take complete control of essential economic activities not only to ensure the health response to the epidemic but also to allow basic needs to be met. Leaving the state to manage this health, economic and social crisis alone is a very risky bet and it now seems absolutely essential that the necessary requisition of businesses of vital interest be done under the control of workers, as well as 'It is essential that healthcare workers directly confronted with the epidemic can prescribe the appropriate measures, without trying to take care of the interests of the wealthy.

Prescriptions in every sense but little social
The third part of the law authorizes the government to issue ordinances, that is to say to modify the law without consulting the National Assembly or the Senate in advance. It will thus be authorized to support directly or indirectly (by facilitating the recourse to partial activity) companies, to allow the employer to fix as it wants the paid holidays and the RTT, to soften the obligations of the companies vis-à-vis vis-à-vis their customers and suppliers but also to allow certain companies to derogate from the rules of public order and the rules fixing working hours, weekly rest or Sunday rest.

At the same time, measures may be taken to adapt the intervention of occupational medicine or the consultation of staff representatives to the circumstances, but it goes without saying that the trade union organizations will have to be particularly vigilant to avoid the situation 'emergency allows bosses to make their employees work without limit or to dismiss massively according to the modification of the law of collective proceedings.

In the context of this health emergency, the government nevertheless plans some social measures such as the extension of the winter break, the continuity of care for the elderly and people with disabilities or the extension of visas and work permits. stay. But these measures seem very meager compared to all that could be implemented to protect the whole population and directly support the most vulnerable.

Finally, if the confinement is to be prolonged, some adjustments are planned to lengthen the deadlines for the various administrative procedures, to adapt the competitions or exams, to organize the organization of certain meetings (governing bodies of companies, authorities of public establishments, meetings co-owners, deliberative assemblies of local authorities) but also to adapt the way in which justice is done and in which police custody is organized. Again, it will be necessary to be extra vigilant in the face of justice rendered behind closed doors with a defense provided by videoconference...

Many administrative measures, many measures to support businesses but not many measures to support those who are directly fighting the epidemic, foremost among which are the nursing staff who, in the event of sick leave, continue to suffer a deficiency day ; not many measures either to help anticipate the social crisis and offer workers the same flexibility as businesses.

One thing is clear: the social emergency is what we will impose on employers and the state.

Libertarian Communist Union, March 21, 2020

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