Bosses are on the offensive
The announcement on September 7 by Alstom management of the closure of the Belfort site not only shocked an entire city but also weighs heavily on all workers in the group – they are 31,000 in the world, including 9,000 in France.
Order book filled, grants, profits: Alstom has it all!
They say that the order book of the Belfort plant is not filled enough to ensure the sustainability of the site.
What a bad joke! Alstom is a thriving multinational whose current orders amount to almost €30 billion. In 2015-2016, the rail division generated an operating income of €366 million. And it enjoys generous gifts from the State: in 2015, €86 million under research tax credit, and €6.3 million under the competitiveness tax credit. Not to mention the €3.6 billion received in 2014 by shareholders after the sale of the energy division to General Electric…
Alstom has no shortage of orders but distributes them where it wants, depriving some workers of a job while worsening the work conditions of others.
Multiplication of layoffs and job cuts
Alstom is not the only one. To the nearly 500 jobs that this company wants to cut in Belfort, a lot more have to be added: 5,000 jobs eliminated by SFR, 170 by Hitachi, 230 by Philips, 600 by the Servier pharmaceutical group. And many others: Société Générale, HSBC, Latécoère, Arkema, Vallourec… Not to mention restructuring at the post office, in hospitals and other public services.
Each time, the capitalists put forward that there are no layoffs, just job cuts thanks to so-called “voluntary departures” or more or less phony promises of redeployments. But do they offer redeployments to the thousands of temporary workers? Workers on fixed-term contracts? Not to mention the other consequences: when a factory like Alstom closes in Belfort, how many other jobs will disappear? We know all the deserted inner cities, the closed stores, the abandoned neighborhoods everywhere capitalists decide to close a plant.
Expect nothing from the government
For each job cut there is an increase in the workload of others. Each position that is made redundant causes a degradation of the job of those who still have one. And, always, the wages are pulled down.
There is nothing to expect from the government: it helps widely in attacks on workers as we saw recently with the Work law!
What is needed is a ban on layoffs and job cuts! What is required for this is to take on profits to maintain employment, take on profits to create jobs and allow everyone to work in good conditions, to live decently.
But this can only be the result of a struggle of all workers.
It is vital to coordinate the fights of all those struggling against the layoffs, on their own, in their workplaces. This would put thousands of workers on strike and in the streets together, and would create the conditions for the working class to take the offensive and impose its right to live decently against the always increasing greed of the bosses.