Motion: Solidarity with strikers in France

This motion is proposed by some students who have been actively supporting strikers in the public transport system, in oil refineries, in schools, in garbage collection services, in universities, since 5 December 2019.

A show of international solidarity and concrete financial solidarity is vital at this point in the mobilisation where the strike is becoming a significant strain on strikers themselves. International solidarity is also a way of counteracting the government’s media strategy which has been to falsely advertise that they are making concessions when all they have proposed are temporary tweaks to their proposed pension overhaul. The word on the picket line remains the same: strike until full withdrawal of the proposed pension overhaul. 

Photo via Plateforme d’Enquêtes Militantes.

This union notes:

1. There are widespread, on-going and historic strikes on-going in France; primarily against a planned reform plan by President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The government announcement on 12 January 2020 is a minor, temporary and symbolic concession as the points based system which the government bill seeks to introduce will nonetheless pressure workers to stay in work for more years without knowing what pension they will obtain at the end. 

2. There have been significant gains won by hard-fought and drawn-out struggles by precarious workers in recent months: outsourced postal workers have obtained leave-to-remain papers following seven months of indefinite strike in Alfortville, post workers in the Hauts-de-Seine winning the reinstatement of their colleague who was unfairly dismissed, outsourced chambermaids fighting and winning the end of outsourcing in hotels, and the Gilets Noirs movement demanding papers for all workers.

3. Some Belgian unions and UK unions have pledged financial solidarity to the strike movement.

4. The government’s response so far has been violent repression on picket lines and on demonstrations, as well as divisive negotiations with some unions. Such violent repression is an intrinsic feature of the government’s relation to the working classes, people of colour and its former colonies, current overseas territories and borders. This repressive apparatus includes policing, incarceration, border violence through to immigration raids, detention and deportation.

5. French state repression against social movements is international, through its production and export of weapons, training of police forces, externalisation of borders and border violence, and corporate deals spanning prison-building to extractive mineral industries.

This union believes:

  1. Solidarity happens through actions as well as words.

2. Collective organising by rank-and-file workers is the only means of protecting each other from victimisation and intimidation, as well as obtaining democratic control over our workplace and our work conditions.

This union resolves:

1. To donate the £500 / £1000 / £5000 to strike committees which have set up their local strike funds to provide compensation for strikers in each workplace, regardless of union affiliation and solely based on needs and numbers. Details for each strike fund, ranked by donations amassed already:

2. To organise solidarity strike fund events, such as bake sales, festive events and other fundraisers to support the strike funds and the strike movement.

3. To inform all members of the on-going strike action in France and encourage all members to publicly express solidarity, in local gatherings, local press and local media.

4. To organise against the repression of social movements internationally and support the work to disorganise and dismantle the UK’s repressive apparatus by, including but not limited to, carrying out research on the links between the workplace and incarceration and state violence, organising communication and education around these links, and supporting local campaigns against state violence.

Note: Priority should be given to local strike funds managed by strikers themselves, not central union strike funds. Strikers are having huge difficulties accessing union strike funds since they need to present both payslips and timesheets as proof that they were on strike; this means they can only start applying for funds after they receive their (empty) payslips at the end of January. This is a huge impediment for many strikers who are considering going back to work because of the financial difficulties they are facing.


A Google document with a live version of this motion can be found here. Contact for more information.


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