Socialist Worker

France


French spirit

20 January 2001
Workers in the French port of Calais have shown exactly how to take on a multinational. Hundreds of workers at the Lu biscuit factory walked out on strike last week after the giant food multinational Danone announced it wanted to shut the plant. The workers were still out on strike this week, and a strike across Danone in France was planned for Thursday. Danone is a multinational company that produces drinks, yoghurt and other dairy products, and biscuits.

Breaking chains

06 January 2001
YOUNG WORKERS at McDonald's in France have shown how to take on the fast food multinational and win. McDonald's workers struck and occupied the Boulevard St German outlet in the centre of Paris just before Christmas. Their 15-day occupation won huge support.

ATTAC

05 February 2000
Some 50 people attended a meeting in London last Saturday to launch the Association for the Tobin Tax for Aid to Citizens (ATTAC) in Britain. The tax, named after economist James Tobin, would be a levy on financial speculation. Katherin Matheison of War On Want addressed Saturday's meeting, as did a member of ATTAC from France. Across the Channel ATTAC has grown to some 70,000 members with 130 local groups in little over a year after it was launched by the left wing monthly paper Le Monde diplomatique. Most of those at Saturday's meeting were inspired by the Seattle protest against the World Trade Organisation. A series of further meetings is planned, including a joint conference with W

Picket lines and protests in France

05 February 2000
FRANCE SHOWS another face of Europe, how workers can take on bosses and governments, marginalising the far right and the Nazis. Over 10,000 health workers united to march in Paris on Friday of last week. Thousands joined similar protests in other cities around the country. They were demanding increased funding and more staff. More protests were planned this week. Four years ago the Tory government attacked France's welfare provision, including health. This was beaten back, and strikes and protests ensured a left wing coalition government was swept to power.

The system cracks

18 December 1999
A WORLD divided by the Cold War also saw outbursts of struggle East and West. In Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 workers rose up against the Stalinist regimes, and battled against Russian tanks. In France in 1968 and Portugal in 1974 there were powerful mass movements that challenged the existing order. The long post-war boom had raised people's expectations of a better life. Many were prepared to fight to realise those aspirations.

French workers fight back

18 December 1999
MANY BELIEVED that after Germany, France would also go down the road of fascism. This was a particular fear after the far right tried to launch a coup in 1934. A general strike was called. Workers united in a spontaneous show of unity against the fascist threat. In June 1936 France was rocked by a massive wave of strikes and occupations after the election of a left of centre Popular Front government.

Most dangerous beef in Europe

18 December 1999
THE TABLOID press has launched a frenzy of French bashing after the French government refused to lift its ban on British beef. Tory politicians and papers such as the Daily Mail have led the pack. Now others are joining in. The Mirror has launched a "Say Non To French Golden Delicious" campaign. The Scottish Daily Record ran a page article on how France has always "betrayed" Scotland.

Strike wave a sign of hot winter

11 December 1999
STRIKES AND protests are erupting across France in the run up to Christmas. The implementation of the new 35 hour week law lies behind many of the disputes. Workers are demanding that bosses pay for the hours cut.

In every continent... Rage against the system

04 December 1999
RIGHT ACROSS the world people protested against capitalism this week. Their target was the World Trade Organisation. Tens of thousands marching in Seattle were attacked by police. Across France tens of thousands joined marches like the one shown here in Paris. In London and other cities across Britain people staged protests. Similar protests took place from Brazil to Bangladesh, from Argentina to Australia.

Something's in the air

27 November 1999
A RASH of strikes swept France last week, hitting national TV and radio stations as well as public transport in the country's three biggest cities. Car workers and postal workers also took action. The strikes come against the background of a continuing political radicalisation in France.

Help us raise £175,000

20 November 1999
THE MONEY collected for the Socialist Worker appeal has now reached £136,380.62. In the last week we received donations from many workplace collections, including: £4 from Jaguar in Solihull, £10 from Blackburn College, £14.98 from De la Rue Printers in High Wycombe, £17 from UCLH hospitals, £18 from Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, £23.50 from Oxford City Council workers, £25 from Kirklees housing workers, £27 from Newcastle General Hospital, £40 amongst Huddersfield postal workers, £80 from BT workers in Bristol St Pauls, £5 from Rolls Royce workers in Bristol, £6 from Sheffield Southey Green housing association, £10 outside Manchester Royal Infirmary and £16 at a Sheffield Trades Council

35 hour week - no loss of pay

06 November 1999
CAR WORKERS in Coventry have been taking French lessons! The French parliament last week approved the key stage in a law cutting hours to 35 a week with no loss of pay. Unions at Peugeot in Britain are now demanding that the French company's 6,000 workers in Coventry get the same.

No taste for farmers' bull

06 November 1999
ON FRIDAY, Saturday and Sunday last week we had a French market in our town, with French people selling their produce. On the Friday someone set up a fruit and vegetable stall in the market flying a Union Jack. It was covered in posters saying "Buy British" and "End the ban on British beef".

Afterglow of France 1995

06 November 1999
THERE'S NOTHING like a beef war to remind you just how stupid the British media and British politicians are. The idiotic jingoistic ranting at the French this past fortnight really has taken the biscuit. In fact, France is the most interesting country in Europe today. A huge wave of social struggles is sweeping French society. The farmers' protests are merely the tip of the iceberg. Barely a day seems to go by without some group or other demonstrating in Paris. High school students have taken to the streets in their hundreds of thousands twice over the past six months.

Not Mad about the Beef

06 November 1999
THE TORIES and the British press have whipped themselves into an anti-French frenzy over beef during the last fortnight. Labour cabinet ministers, like agriculture secretary Nick Brown, have encouraged the mood. But they all ignore the most basic facts about British beef and BSE.

Crap from British beef supporters

30 October 1999
MUCH OF the press has flown into a French bashing frenzy. The pretext is the refusal of the French government to accept assurances that British beef is safe and free from the BSE "mad cow" disease. The foreigner bashing tabloids have seized on the revelations that some French farmers have illegally been using sewage based animal feed for their cows and pigs.

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