Striking oil workers speak out against anti-worker French labor lawOn October 9, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
Why is the Grandpuits refinery on strike? To demand the withdrawal of the El Khomri law. Why do you want the El Khomri law withdrawn? It’s a step back on our social rights, on the Labor Code that generations of workers fought for. Currently we are on strike we are using a right which is inscribed in the Constitution. The Grandpuits-Gargenville refinery has stopped operations the Donges refinery is on an indefinite stoppage the Normandy refinery is on stoppage the Feyzin refinery is on stoppage the La Mède refinery is technically stopped they are not sending any shipments. There are two Exxon refineries who have gone back to work, unfortunately because a trade union signed the deal. We are demanding a referendum. Ask the French people if they want to have the El Khomri law they will say no Then withdraw the law 72 percent of the French people oppose the El Khomri law currently. What do you think of the role of the Socialist Party government now? You mean the current government? I’m not so sure that it’s socialist. The French people have protested in the streets over two months. The French people have protested many times Currently, the government has not listened to us. Now, we are demanding the withdrawal of the law, period. We are dealing with a government that uses dictatorial methods I think it is disgusting that they are using police to crush strike blockades against depots because these are oil storage facilities. In 2010, we were blockading the refinery we then had to deal with the security forces sent by [President Nicolas] Sarkozy to attack us, make us return to work and take away our right to strike. There was a ruling at the International Labor Organization the judgement came later, and it was against the French State because it had taken our right to strike away. However, we had to go back to work because they were threatening us with fines and prison sentences. It is disgusting, we had to go back to work we were back in a dictatorship. Have you seen that there are also strikes in Belgium, what do you think of them? I also support them, just like they are helping us because they are helping block fuel resupply, and going against the policy of the French government. I find it is very honorable of them and I appeal to them to continue and to support us. I am very happy with what is happening. Today it also shows how the European population is angry that it is ruled by an oligarchy that is totally divorced from reality. About wages, I want to add something about the pay of the CEOs of big companies on the French stock market. I read in Le Monde that Sanofi’s CEO is paid 16.6 million euros per year, and I did a very simple calculation. I took my salary and I took the Sanofi CEO’s salary and I divided his salary by mine. And so I found out that I would have to work 433 years to make his yearly salary. So there you go. We even had Brazilians send us a video in French, Brazilian refinery workers who sent us a video to support us in our struggle. So we are determined, we are not isolated, first of all. The French nuclear plants are going on strike, the rail workers are going on strike, the airline industry is going on strike. So we are not isolated.