The National Coordination sets out a strategy for a week of actions against the CPE.
update: see full text at the bottom of this post.
Meeting in Lille this weekend the national coordination reunited student activists and delegates from 114 higher education colleges and schools. In a up beat communiqué issued at the end of the assembly the national coordination are calling for moves towards an unlimited general strike as “the only issue for the national Days of Action, and the only way to push the government onto the defensive and repeal the “Equality of Chances” legislation.”
The unions are being asked to declare unlimited strike action from 4th April with direct actions to take place with effect from that date. On Wednesday 5th April school and higher education students will be taking direct action with union members against business premises, with occupations and public assemblies to help broaden the movement. Thursday 6th April has been called as a national day of action to block transport routes with Friday 7th April a day of support for arrested activists and against state repression with assemblies to take place at court premises around the country. Saturday 8th April will see the organisation of co-organised demonstrations with the unions bringing together workers, the unemployed/unwaged, précaires and temporary workers with students. During the school and University Easter holidays, which start in some areas this weekend the occupations of universities and schools will continue and on Tuesday 11th April, simultaneous demonstrations will again held in all towns and cities in France.
Tous ensemble, par la grève générale reconductible, nous allons gagner !
“All together, with an unlimited general strike we will win” ends the Communiqué
Full text of the statement
We, delegates of university and school students from 114 institutions of higher education and numerous high schools on struggle, in a National Coordination meeting in Lille on April 1 and 2, reaffirm our determination to build a united movement against casualisation and to continue the strike and blockades until the withdrawal of the Law on Equality of Opportunities (LEC), of which the CPE [Contract of First Employment] is an amendment of the CNE [Contract of New Employment].
The aim of the CPE, the CNE, and previous contracts, is to spread and legalise the casualisation of labour by putting into question the contract of labour. Chirac pretends to have listened to our expectations. This is a lie. The maintenance of a trial period of one year remains unacceptable, since it is a step too far in that direction. As for getting sacked, it is not more justified than in the case of someone under the CNE: we will only have the right of knowing the “reason”, valid or not, for finishing the contract. Thank you very much, boss!
Modified or not, the core of the LEC remains: work for peanuts and shut up! Neither amendments nor negotiations! Withdrawal of the LEC, withdrawal of the CNE!
The fact that Chirac has promulgated this law has not broken our determination, on the contrary. Chirac’s proposals for modifications only show one thing: he is afraid of our movement spreading further. We will reply with an even stronger, wider movement!
This new provocation, like all the others, will only have the effect of convincing even more workers, casual workers, unemployed, school and university students to join us in the struggle. Minister of Education de Robien knows it well, he gave the order to the police to lift the blockades of the high schools: this united the teachers and pupils who have maintained their strike pickets, and our response has been to blockade even more schools, and even the country as a whole. The high schools have already joined the universities. In many faculties and schools, teachers and administrative staff participate actively in the strike.
The actions of March 7, March 18, and the historical success of March 28, show that millions of workers are ready to struggle, regaining confidence in their own strength, in the possibility of winning.
The fact that the Chirac government ignores our demands, the wide scope of the repression which it is using against the movement, and its willingness to link its fate, once again, to the CPE (using article 49.3 to promulgate the law) will force them to leave at the same time as they withdraw their attacks.
The days of action are only useful if their clear and stated aim is to build up for a general strike, which is the only way to force the government to back off. For this reason we appeal for a renewable general strike [i.e., a general strike in which each day the general assemblies decide whether to continue on strike or not] from April 4.
We are conscious of the difficulties in building this up. The students’ movement did not start all at once: it started with the students of Rennes who bet on their strike spreading like an oil spill and who blockaded their university on their own for a week. It will happen in the same way amongst the workers.
Therefore we will contribute, along with the most mobilised sections of the workers, to make April 4, proposed by the national coordination at Aix, and then taken by the trade unions as a new day of strikes and demonstrations, the beginning of a movement of renewable strikes.
We commit ourselves to support the movement of the workers. We are ready to participate in all sorts of joint actions that can help build up the strike. We support the setting up of General Assemblies everywhere, which will allow us to democratically decide the action to be taken as well as our demands. Because casualisation is not only the result of the CPE or the CNE, we commit ourselves to support all the demands which will be defined by the workers on struggle, such as the increase of wages and the transfer of all casual contracts to CDI [permanent contracts], for instance.
We support the appeals of local unions for renewable strikes starting from April 4, and we ask all organisations to issue warnings for all out strikes, at a local and national level, and to really commit themselves to the building up of the general strike until the withdrawal of the so-called Law of Equality of Opportunities, the CPE and the CNE. We make an appeal for the demonstration in Paris to make its way to the National Assembly. We appeal to school and university students to meet with the trade union teams in the localities or at regional levels to propose common action, common General Assemblies, and to consider all possibilities of continuing the strike after April 4.
On Wednesday, April 5 we appeal to all school and university students for a day of action aimed at the workplaces, linking up with the workers and their local union organisations: mass leafleting, blockades, factory and office occupations. The aim is to support the strikers and to promote General Assemblies in order to spread the movement.
On Thursday, April 6 we appeal for demonstrations and for blockades on the main railway routes.
On Friday, April 7 we appeal for a national day of mobilisation against repression, particularly with a rally in front of the courts.
After the Easter holidays, like after the February holidays, we will maintain the strike and the active blockades in the universities and schools. On Saturday, April 8 we appeal to the trade union organisations to co-organise demonstrations of workers, unemployed, casual workers, school and university students.
On Tuesday, April 11 we propose to all workers on strike, school and university students and the population as a whole to demonstrate simultaneously in all the towns and cities of France.
All together, for a renewable general strike, we will win!
Translated by La Riposte