Socialist Worker

Macron’s party in new crisis as strikers return to the streets

The French president looks weak as strikes continue, says Charlie Kimber

Issue No. 2692

Strikers protesting in France last Friday

Strikers protesting in France last Friday (Pic: Force Ouvriere/Flickr)


France’s president Emmanuel Macron is in political trouble.

The Financial Times newspaper reported last week that Macron’s party “has begun to crumble at the edges in a sign of the domestic difficulties piling up for the president as his popularity ebbs”.

Defections from his LREM party have left it with only a small ­majority in parliament, and it is expected to do poorly in municipal elections next month.

And Benjamin Griveaux, Macron’s candidate for Paris mayor, withdrew from the race over a leaked sex video last week.

Strikes and demonstrations continue against his proposed attacks on pensions—and polls still show a majority in favour of the strikes.

Some French rail workers and Paris RATP public transport workers struck on Monday. The action came as the bill to implement the pensions plan was introduced to parliament. It faces 20,000 amendments put forward by left MPs.

There was some disruption on Monday, but much less than in previous strikes.

Alain, a bus striker in Nanterre in the western suburbs of Paris, told Socialist Worker, “Our depot was very strong. We blockaded the entrance for four hours.

“The mood is still very much for a fight. But it’s not easy to get people out on strikes that stop and then start, and are spaced a long time apart.”

Militant

The action would have been much more successful if the CGT, often seen as the most militant union federation, had backed it.

Instead the CGT said the strike was a diversion from a day of national strikes that was planned for Thursday this week.

On the eve of Monday’s strikes some sections of rank and file workers launched a joint appeal.

“We invite you to meet in early March in a national meeting, bringing together workers from all unions and non-unionised, to work together to draw up a battle plan leading to a real general strike,” it said.

“It is essential for us to develop this battle plan, if we want to avoid being led to just occasional days of action or seeing our sectoral movements remain isolated.

“We can still win—provided we take our affairs in hand and make concrete the prospect of all together against Macron and his reform.”

Health workers struck on Friday of last week and thousands demonstrated in Paris. They marched with slogans such as, “A hospital is not a business.”

Strikes began last Saturday among ski resort workers in the Pyrenees and the Alps. A fifth of the 200 resorts were disrupted.

A million seasonal workers are employed at the resorts for six months a year. The rest of the time they have only intermittent jobs.

Deepening Macron’s problems means bringing all the elements of struggle together.


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