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(en) Italy, UCADI #169: FRANCE: GOVERNMENT COOK (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Mon, 29 May 2023 08:56:51 +0300

The executive, in a Council of Ministers, held 5 minutes before the vote, believing that 2 votes were missing to achieve the majority, chose to approve the law on pension reform, using art. 49.3 of the French Constitution to escape judgment of the National AssemblyAnd. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and President Macron chose a showdown, opposing the mobilization of the French head-on, which accompanied the debate with strikes and demonstrations that saw the participation of millions of French and 3 million and seven hundred thousand demonstrators and the calling of 9 general strikes. Public opinion considered the decision to be an authoritarian and anti-democratic gesture, even if provided for by the Constitution; continuous protest rallies have taken place and are taking place, and many more will take place.
"This pension reform project has no social, popular, democratic legitimacy. For this reason, according to the provisions of art. 49 paragraph 3 of the Legislative Decree Constitution and by articles 153 and following of the internal regulation of the National Assembly, the deputies present and vote on this motion of censure." it is stated in the first motion presented by Bernard Pancher and 90 other colleagues; similar contents and motivations had the second motion, signed by Marine Le Pen, signed by 87 colleagues. The discussion took place on Monday 21st and after the intervention of the representatives of eleven parliamentary groups and the reply of the prime minister, the two motions were voted; the first received 278 votes, 9 fewer than necessary; the second received fewer votes.
Reform is therefore law, even if the Borne government comes out of it shattered. Spontaneous demonstrations immediately took place and, despite the coup d'état by the executive, the unions announced that the mobilization would continue indefinitely and a new general strike was called for Thursday the 23rd.
It is a widespread opinion among workers of the various categories that the government will retrace its steps only if the damage caused to the bosses by an open-ended mobilization will be of such an entity as to make a continued and widespread social conflict unsustainable. For this reason, the forms of struggle have assumed and will maintain radical characteristics where the inconveniences and therefore the effects of the mobilization are greatest, such as in Paris, where the strike of the garbage collectors has multiplied the piles of rubbish (the presence of 10 tons was already calculated of rubbish) and the situation will only get worse because the pickets of the strikers block the collection trucks in the depots.
After the ineffective vote on the motions of censure calling for the government's resignation, the next step at an institutional level is to submit the approved provision to a referendum which would suspend its effects for 9 months, giving time for further mobilisations. 250 signatures have already been collected from deputies asking for it to be carried out. But the procedure is difficult due to the necessary ruling by the Council of State for the referendum to be called. Meanwhile strikes and demonstrations will continue.
This position of the Government opens up a difficult crisis to resolve also because the opposition to the approved law is very strong in the country and therefore the outcome of the dispute is entrusted to social conflict. Macron and the majority of him pay the price for the electoral failure and are unable to govern the country as they have done so far, juggling between the right and left opposition. And this is because the pension provision displeases everyone and unites the opposition, since 68% of the French are against the law. Strengthened by this support, the blockade of refineries, power plants, transport will grow and the mobilization among young people and in schools will only grow. Intermittent strikes and pickets are expected across France in the coming days.

Strike continued

The inter-union has already decided to develop a calendar of indefinite agitations and mobilizations, stimulated by strikes and demonstrations already proclaimed at the peripheral level throughout the country, and this even if the fatigue of the strikers and demonstrators is growing due of the costs of the unrest. Therefore, initiatives are multiplying to set up resistance funds and raise funds for the strikers in the belief that some strikes such as those in transport, workers in the energy sector and in refineries in particular, subway stops in cities, those of garbage collectors, they are particularly harmful to the employers and to the government and can induce the other party to withdraw from its choices.
Many schools are occupied, the patchy mobilizations proliferate and, however the dispute will end, the clash between the Government and the country has dug a deep furrow that will be impossible to fill.

The stakes

To understand the motives and reasons for the radical nature of the ongoing conflict, one must bear in mind that what is at stake goes beyond the pension reform: in the squares and streets of France a battle is being fought against an individualistic vision of society in which accumulation speculation prevails over solidarity. The lengthening of the retirement age harms women above all. To understand the reasons, it should be noted that the pension is calculated on the average of the best wages over 25 working years and for women, it is well known. they have lower wages and discontinuous periods of work.
The calculation of the pension for women is influenced by the delay with which they enter the labor market, leave for family reasons, periods of part-time work, etc. These elements decrease, and not by a small amount, the degree of coverage of pensions based on the distribution system (the one for which the contributions of active workers constitute the resources necessary for the pensions paid out). In recent years the insufficient growth of wages, the discontinuity of work, a female labor market characterized by lower wages and greater job discontinuity have reduced the volume of contributions, lowered the degree of coverage of pensions.
These factors have been matched by the political and economic support for supplementary pensions and private pension funds, a choice that responds to an orientation of Community policy, fascinated by the Anglo-Saxon system of pension funds, or by the financial activity of those companies that collect subscriptions of supplementary pensions and invest the capital on the stock market, dragging the subscribers to ruin in the event of failure and bankruptcy (the famous and well-known disasters of American and British pension funds). Well, despite these bad performances, in the last twenty years, the collection of money from private pension funds has also grown steadily in France, facilitated and supported by tax relief measures which have allowed paid policies to be deducted in the tax return.
In other words, the drop in pension coverage has been remedied through individual non-solidarity interventions implemented by holders of higher incomes and workers with better wages, among whom in general the share of women is lower, with the result of increasing further gender inequalities. Finally, it should be added that, due to the growing precariousness of the labor market, especially for young people, the pensions that are envisaged, even if the current system is left in force, can only be characterized by lower quality and quantity benefits.

Need for reform

From all this it follows that in France, as everywhere, a pension reform would be more than necessary, but diametrically opposed to that undertaken by the French Government and by many other European countries in which the conditions for retirement are much worse and the age for the legal pension certainly higher. What is needed to re-discuss and place at the center of the debate and confrontation is the question of the structure of the salary and its size throughout the European area, starting from the principle that if coordination is a priority and synergies between the economic, climate and energy policies of the In various countries, wages and labor costs cannot be a variable managed by the owners of those territorial districts that still bear the name of nation-states, but must respond to common criteria and parameters.
This would be a necessary measure to prevent and avoid the dumping of investments between the various countries belonging to the Union, but also the dumpingsalaries on the basis of which the balance of power is established between bosses and workers, or more generally between workers and the employers' side. It is necessary to prevent wage and regulatory differences from being played out in terms of a competitive relationship, for the purpose of greater exploitation and extraction of surplus value from working activity. But these economic and wage policy choices are far from the intentions of the current political managers of the EU's economic and political space.
It is for these reasons that the ongoing battle in France is important for all European workers, especially at a time when wage struggles in the face of rising inflation are restarting everywhere (most recently in Portugal with a general strike ). The ongoing struggles should provide the necessary impetus to initiate a change in the political stage.

The editorial staff

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