This day of action “for the increase in wages and the defense of the right to strike”, will concern “refineries, the food industry, nurseries, public transport, energy and nuclear, (…) education, health, trade …”, listed Catherine Perret, confederal secretary of the CGT after an inter-union meeting at the headquarters of the central in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis).
The call for mobilization is also signed by the youth organizations Fidl, the MNL, the Unef and the High School Life. Unsa and CFE-CGC, which participated in the inter-union, did not wish to sign it, according to Catherine Perret.
The signatories believe that “a limit has been crossed by the government”, with the announcement of requisitions of employees of refineries and depots by the prefectures.
Anticipating this announcement from the power stations, education, railway, nuclear or public service unions had announced during the day that they would take part in this movement. The vocational high schools were already called to a movement against the reform which concerns them.
“The fact of requisitioning, it set fire to the powder”, accused the secretary general of the CGT Philippe Martinez on BFMTV Thursday morning. It was a “detonator”, corroborates Simon Duteil of Solidaires.
These requisitions were “the trigger” which convinced Force Ouvrière to join the intersyndicale, also abounded the representative of FO, Patricia Drevon.
Asked Wednesday evening on France 2, the President of the Republic repeated that the State would not hesitate to use this weapon of requisitions to allow the distribution of fuel.
Threat carried out Thursday in a TotalEnergies oil depot located near Dunkirk, after the Esso-ExxonMobil depot in Notre-Dame-de-Gravenchon on Wednesday.
– “Escalade” –
Questioned Thursday morning on France Inter, the secretary general of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, condemned these requisitions, which according to him feed an “escalation” in the conflict.
However, the CFDT will not join the protesters on Tuesday. “The call to strike, what does it change in the end? It doesn’t change anything,” he said.
The CFDT and the CFTC had already distanced themselves from the movement in the refineries this weekend, dissociating themselves from the strikes at TotalEnergies, described as “preventive”.
“Reformist” union officials highlight on condition of anonymity the internal issues underlying the conflict, the Federation of Chemistry, opposed to the line of Philippe Martinez, having at heart according to them to score points with the militants a few months before the CGT Congress, scheduled for 2023.
“This movement was piloted by the workers. I would dream that there was a button where you press to start the strikes”, sweeps Amar Lagha, of the CGT Commerces.
If the Montreuil power station has neither triggered nor perhaps seen the magnitude of the dispute coming, it is now determined to use it as a springboard.
“We are going to speed up our mobilization process,” said Céline Verzeletti, confederal secretary of the union. Many union activists will be like her present at the demonstration “against the high cost of living” organized by Nupes on Sunday, before perhaps the organization of a joint day of left-wing parties and unions later.
Is the CGT not afraid with these strikes and demonstrations of alienating the French, many of whom are overwhelmed with the difficulties of refueling?
“Of course, when you queue for an hour at the gas station, you get angry. But the question of sharing the wealth is on everyone’s mind,” replies Ms. Verzeletti.
According to an Elabe poll for BFMTV, a small majority of French people approve of the mobilization of TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil employees (42% approve, 40% disapprove, 18% are indifferent).
For political scientist Dominique Andolfatto, the CGT “knows that it splits”. But she “probably calculates that it’s rather positive for her”, especially “vis-à-vis her base and supporters”.