A series of strikes in French factories engaged in non-essential production has forced employers to close some of them down, at least temporarily.
The revolt against being herded into unsafe workplaces has worried big business.
Patrick Martin, head of the Medef bosses’ organisation, said, “There has been an extremely brutal change in the attitude of employees in all sectors of activity”.
One walkout that was particuarly welcome came at the Dassault Aviation factory in Argenteuil. This makes fighter jets for the military.
Anthony De Castro, the CGT union representative at the factory, said, “No masks were provided to employees, nor gel. Six to seven employees were sick last Monday and the following day this figure rose to 13.
“Management says they sent them home and that these were not Covid-19 cases, but none were screened.”
The CGT demanded that the factory be closed for at least 15 days, which bosses refused.
So around 300 workers went on immediate strike. Faced with this resistance, bosses shut the factory.
The CGT added that “manufacturing business and military aircraft for export are not one of the sectors essential to the life of the country.
“For the CGT, the life and health of employees and their families are priceless and must take precedence over all financial considerations.”
Meanwhile the government of president Emmanuel Macron has forced through a repressive set of laws supposedly to deal with the coronavirus crisis. The mainstream right and the fascist RN party backed them and only the France Insoumise party of Jean-Luc Melenchon voted against.
The measures will enable companies to break some restrictions on working hours and limit holidays. People who are deemed to be outside their homes without sufficient reason will be fined £125 for the first offence.
If there is a recurrence then the fine rises to nearly £1,400. Repeated violations can lead to six months in prison.
The homeless and black people are being hit hard by the new laws.