The working class must be heard: vote Lutte ouvrière

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
5 June 2017

Next Sunday is general election day. The main bourgeois parties and their teams of old or new politicians are all excited. Some say that Macron has to have a parliamentary majority. Others say that they're the ones who can defend us against Macron’s policies. And all of them pretend that the political scene has changed, yet they’re just using the same old tricks to make us believe that a vote can change our fate.

At the same time, the bourgeoisie continues to close down companies and cut jobs, waging war on the workers by increasing production speed, making Saturday work compulsory and freezing wages.

Macron’s government is going to make the class war more intense, more generalized, by giving bosses every legal tool they need to change wages, working hours and working conditions whenever they want. Macron’s plan to “reform the labor market” without consulting parliament is an outright attack against the working class. He wants to get rid of the last remaining legal limits to the bosses’ power.

If the project goes through, working hours, wages and the rules for night work could all be decided  by local workplace agreements and not by labor laws or branch agreements. In other words, the bosses would legally be free to do whatever they want at plant level-–pay compulsory overtime at a lower rate, decide how much severance pay to give, etc.

The bosses already have plenty of ways to get around the existing social laws and ignore them. But from now on, they’ll be legally able to write labor contracts that suit their immediate needs and sack people whenever they want without having to justify their decision.

All the bosses' wishes have been included in the government's plans, notably a cap on the compensation that a boss has to pay if found guilty by a labor tribunal, and even the merging of workplace committees, Joint Health and Safety Committees and staff representatives.

Bosses and government cynically talk of “closing the gap between workersrights and company needs” but they really mean binding workers hand and foot to their boss.

Active or jobless workers, retirees, working-class youth, we are all victims of capital owners. But our future doesn’t depend on votes in a ballot box. Our future depends on our fight against the capitalist class, on our getting organized and on our collective consciousness.

Building a party that represents our class interests is all the more important because the Front National (FN) has gained influence. It’s turning workers away from the real fight and using our class brothers, the immigrant workers, as scapegoats. By covering up the bosses’ responsibility, the FN is strengthening their position and defending their power, just like Macron.

There will be a Lutte ouvrière candidate in each constituency so that the people who share our revolt and our perspectives can express it. This is precious in a time of regression when people often feel isolated.

In their neighborhood or town, LO voters will know that they are not alone but are part of a political movement of hundreds of thousands of people. It may be a minority movement but it exists all across the country and is proud of its ideas. A movement of women and men who are determined to fight back.

Vote for Lutte ouvrière’s candidates on June 11, to show that there is working-class opposition to the government and to corporate managers who pull the strings.

And, after the elections, the exploited will still need to build a party that represents their class interests—a party made up of women and men who are active on a daily basis in their workplace and where they live. There must be a party that is determined to defend workers’ interests within the framework of the capitalist system but that is working, at the same time, to overthrow this exploitative society.