This week in France, young people and workers are preparing a massive fight against attacks coming from the Socialist Party government of Francois Hollande. March 9th has been set in France as a day to take to the streets in strikes and demonstrations against the “Khomri Law,” named after Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri. The law is an attack on the majority of French workers, who are now preparing to fight all together to put a stop to this attack.
In France, many of the regulations regarding work are decided at the level of the national government. These laws cover the rules regarding hiring and firing, union representation, and many other aspects of work. The Socialist Party, much like the Democrats in this country, pretend to defend working people but instead support measures that attack workers and enrich their bosses.
The bosses say French companies need to compete with other corporations in the world whose workers work for less. French workers have historically won a 35-hour work week. But just like in the U.S., with an official 40-hour work week, bosses can get around this. The average work week in France is about 40 hours, but this could increase to between 48 and 60 hours under the Khomri law. And even worse, the law gives corporations the right to bargain individually with the unions, so rather than setting up one set of rules at the national level, corporations can play divide and conquer against French workers.
When the Khomri law was announced, immediately people acted. They didn’t wait for politicians or union leaders to give the signal. Young people formed committees in their schools and workers started to organize in the workplace. An online petition called “We Are Worth More Than That!” has gathered over a million signatures. March 9th will be the day that millions of French youth and workers go into action.
Perhaps the bosses in France are right when they say that French workers should be more like workers in the rest of the world. As French workers go on strike, confront the government and the bosses in the streets, and push back against the attacks, maybe we should all be more like the French workers. Workers in the U.S. and around the world should fight like the French!