French workers won because solidarity strikes are legal there

Submitted by Anon on 27 April, 2006 - 2:35

For two months growing mobilisation of French students and workers confronted the French government.

For two months, France’s right-wing government said it wouldn’t budge. It passed the CPE — a measure allowing bosses to sack young workers without having to prove any good cause — into law.

Then, on 10 April, the government backed down. It withdrew the CPE. Solidarity won.

Every single bit of the strike action that won in France would have been illegal in Britain. Britain’s “most restrictive labour laws in the western world”, as Tony Blair smugly described them in 1997 when promising to keep them, forbid any strike action that isn’t directly about your own terms and conditions with your own immediate employer.

To save the Health Service; to save our schools; to help workers in contracted-out jobs; to combat privatisation; to win workers’ rights — we need solidarity action.

On 1 May workers are marching in London on a TUC-backed demonstration for a Trade Union Freedom Bill to re-establish some rights to solidarity action. We should make that the start of a huge campaign.

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