Socialist Worker

Movement in France set for new battles

by Anindya Bhattacharyya
Issue No. 1997

Activists in France involved in the mass movement against the CPE youth employment laws say their victory is only the first step in a wider campaign against neo-liberalism.

On Tuesday of last week some 40,000 university and high school students across France took part in a day of action against the CNE, a similar law to the CPE applying to small businesses, and other employment laws that erode workers’ rights.

Almost all the university blockades have now been lifted. But trade unionists and student activists plan to press home their case after the Easter holidays.

The CGT union federation has called for the May Day parade this year to be a demo against the CNE. The national student coordination committee that oversaw the anti-CPE protests and two other major French union federations, Force Ouvrière and the CFDT, also back the call to scrap the CNE.

France’s right wing government faces headaches over two other aspects of its programme that could be flashpoints for struggle this summer. In June the government plans to part privatise Gaz de France. But it has yet to publish its plans for this project, which is certain to spark protests.

Another struggle is brewing over a vicious new immigration bill being promoted by Nicolas Sarkozy, the country’s hard right interior minister and now the leading right wing candidate for the presidency.

The proposed “Ceseda” laws would prevent many families of immigrant workers from gaining residency in France. It also promotes “immigration jetable” – throwaway immigration – based on renewable one year work and residency permits.

Unions, immigrant rights activists and campaigners against neo?liberalism have all joined the campaign against the Ceseda legislation. They will be supporting a demonstration against the bill in Paris on Saturday 29 April.

The “no committees” that ran last year’s successful campaign against the EU constitution will hold their national conference on 13 May to discuss the way forward for the left.

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Sat 22 Apr 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1997
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