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(en) Struggle of french archeologists

From "cercle social" <cerclesocial@altern.org>
Date Sat, 18 Jan 2003 03:48:05 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

In 1998, the socialist government tried to transform archeology into a
private sector. There was a massive strike and struggle of archeologists
against this. The law finaly voted by the parliement created a public
institute, the INRAP (national institue for preventive archeological
research), with monopoly over preventive archeology. This law was feated as
a success by the trade-unions, as it recognzed archeaology as part of public
service. But they don't examined the case of allmost 200 people working in
"private" archaology (associations and small enterprises), that were
condemned to unemployement.

With this new law, published in 2001 and applied in februar 2002, preventive
archeology is financed by a tax, payed by developers when their work menace
an archeaological site. Some deputies argued this tax was too high - giving
false samples to their colleagues - and they proposed it to be halved. This
was in december 2002. A first strike and demonstration of archeologists
workers (mainly from INRAP, but not only) made them to annulate this
proposition. But a few days after, they voted the state budget law, and cut
by 25% the amount of the tax. The minister also announced there will be a
new law in three months.

So the direction of INRAP plan to downsize 25 % of workers. They will not
sack long-term contract people now, but all short-term contract will not be
prolongated more. So around 500 people will be unemployed. Most of them are
young people, having worked one or two years for INRAP, and with four years
of archeaological studies.

Note that INRAP was six month late for its programme of archeological
diggings, because they got not enough people. So state archeaological
adminstration is now asked by minister to reexamin all planned preventive
archeaological diggings and suppress a maximum of them... so the
archeological sites will be destroyed without any scientifical control.

Workers of INRAP are now in strike, not every day - remember one-fourth of
them will be unemployed in a few times, so they need money now - and make
actions like occupation of public buildings (Beaubourg museum, national
heritage direction, regional directions of culture...). We also disturbed
the new years wishes of the culture minister, this monday. Others actions
are planned for next weeks.

In INRAP, fisrt trade-union is CGT (former communist party union), and after
CFDT (very moderated social-democratic union) and FO (moderated
social-democratic union). A lot of people criticize the domination of CGT on
the struggle and its  moless, but they do not really try to overcome it now.

After the biggest national demonstration, we made an encounter with a dozen
of colleagues from CNT-F (base union), CNT-AIT (anarcho-syndicalists) and
anarchists / communists. We decided to get closer contacts and to meet
together in Nantes (west of France) 25 and 26 of januar, to discuss about
common issues. We hope that will be able, after this, to have a better
intervention in the struggle, as revolutionnary workers.


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