Report of the Paris Assembly – 11th June 2016
Coordination des intermittents et précaires (France), NuitDebout (Commission general strike, Commission political economy, Commission democracy), Sud Solidaire (France), Clap (Rome, Italy), Precarious Dis-connections (Bologna, Italy), Plan C (UK), Alt åt Alla (Sweden), Worker’s Initiative (Poland), Interventionistische Linke (Germany), activists from Scotland, Netherlands and Brazil.
From France to Europe
A report of the ongoing mobilization was made by the French comrades, starting from the necessity of going from France to Europe, that is of expressing the transnational potential of the French movement, also concerning its experimental character in terms of connection between social movements and trade unions. The commission for the general strike has been active in the past months in turning the democratic aspirations of NuitDebout into struggles on the field of strike and labor, that is also finding connections with unions and workers’ protests outside the square. The difficulty, felt on a national basis and even more on a European level, is how to build a «we», in a situation where no ideological basis is shared. The commission for political economy underlined the need of stressing the commonalities among the countries in Europe in terms of attack on labor and social rights. The CIP (Coordination des intermittents et précaires) stressed how the mobilization against the loi travail has been able to make different struggles converge, while the strategy of the government has been that of producing divisions among sectors and categories, improving the conditions of some workers at the price of the others. It has also been stressed that beside the loi travail, the transformation of welfare systems (such as the reform of unemployment benefits) and the management of migrants’ movement were some of the main instruments to cause divisions among workers and to increase the control over the labor force. In this frame, the necessity of overcoming national borders and the division among categories and professions is crucial, as well as the necessity of going beyond the simple organization of labor through unions.
Striking in precarious times: what do we have in common?
The loi travail is very similar to other laws enforced in Europe in the last years. Even though in each country there are specific ways of institutionalizing precarity, there is also a common trend in Europe that should become the starting point of our initiative. This makes a change of perspective necessary, first of all for all of us who have been mainly engaged in organizing on a national or local level. This is true especially for the unions that are usually stuck on the national context and on the organization of labor into categories, which has been substantially overcome by the growth of mobility and precarity.The struggle for the defense of national bargaining is telling of this predicament. While it can gain important results on the national level, what do we do against the fact that, for instance, a good collective bargaining in France can mean a decrease in wages and working conditions in Poland or elsewhere along the production chain, in order to make the book balance?