We refuse the sacrifices imposed by big business and the government!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
September 26, 2022

On Thursday, September 29, several unions (CGT, FSU and Solidaires) are calling for strikes and demonstrations over wages. Yes, that question needs to be put on the table, both in the private and the public sector, since wages have not been following the crazy rise in prices.

In many companies, workers have not waited for the 29th to talk things over, get organized and sometimes even go on strike. In recent weeks, there have been strikes at Carrefour, Arkema, TotalEnergies, PSA Stellantis, GRDF, in airports and care homes.

The protesters are right: wages must be indexed to prices! For months, the rising prices of food, fuel, natural gas, electricity, etc., have eroded purchasing power. And the weight of those rises is all the heavier for those with the lowest salaries, which have been blocked for years.

By encouraging employers to pay an inflation bonus, Macron recognizes that the situation is unbearable for millions of workers. But he will never force employers to pay substantial bonuses or to increase wages, even though the coffers of the largest corporations are overflowing with cash.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has acknowledged the existence of crisis profiteers: "We fully realize that some people are artificially raising prices. We will act against speculation on energy prices."

It’s not difficult to name some of those mysterious speculators, such as the big energy trusts like Engie, Eni and TotalEnergies, whose financial departments are specialized in speculative operations. But what is the government doing to control them, to stop them from doing harm? Absolutely nothing! Ministers refuse to speak of ‘superprofits’ even though it is common knowledge that the profits of these groups have doubled, sometimes tripled over the past year.

The so called ‘tariff shield’ serves to conceal the billions of profits reaped by the energy corporations much more than to protect the standard of living of the working classes. If we expect solutions from the government, we will just get handouts, bills that are merely postponed and impoverishment spread over time.

Let's not allow the government and the bosses to pick our pockets! It's up to us to get together, define our demands and put ourselves in marching order to win them.

This is all the more important as we must also show our opposition to the pension reform that the government wants to impose, possibly in the coming weeks.

During the presidential campaign, Macron announced that he wanted to postpone retirement age to 64 or 65, with the worn out argument that we live longer, so the pension funds will soon be in deficit... Except that pension accounts are currently in surplus ! The argument of urgency having fallen apart, Macron is now explaining that the state needs money for schools, policing, housing and the ‘energy transition’.

In other words, workers are supposed to pay for what the big bourgeoisie does not want to pay! Things couldn't be clearer: the government wants us to sacrifice our pensions and our purchasing power so that the capitalists can continue to get richer.

The list of sacrifices that the political leaders and the owners demand from us is growing. Because of the energy crisis, we are expected to accept cold homes this winter, short-time work, pay cuts and compulsory work from home.

The threats we face go far beyond wage and pension issues. They are also political threats because war is on our doorstep. The escalation we are witnessing in Ukraine is not only due to Putin's rantings. It is the result of the intensification of the American and Western war effort, which provides more money, more equipment and more instructors to wage war.

The capitalists, their social order and their politicians have plunged us into disaster, economic chaos and war. There is no reason to sacrifice ourselves for such a crazy system. We must be prepared to challenge their policies and their power. And this starts with fighting tooth and nail against all the setbacks they want to impose on us today.

Nathalie ARTHAUD