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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Un stock de propositions contre le gâchis économique

by Sébastien Crépel

The Left Front’s Package of Measures against De-industrialization

Translated Sunday 19 February 2012, by Isabelle Métral and reviewed by Henry Crapo

The Left Front’s platform proposes a pre-emptive right for workers, anti-relocation taxes, a ban on lay-offs for companies whose share-holders have received dividends…

What should the Left do, if it comes to office, in order to put an end to the loss of industry and the economic, social, technological waste that this involves, as Lejaby, Sodimédical, Ed workers in Albertville know only too well? This question was the chief issue debated during the Left Front’s presidential candidate’s visit to the workers fighting for their jobs.

The Front’s platform (A Human Ambition First), together with the bills proposed by Left Front deputies and senators, open up prospects and afford matter for discussion. The first proposal in the platform, which puts a ban on lay-offs for companies that have paid dividends to share-holders, has been developed and written into a bill by communist senators, and has already been voted by the leftwing majority of the Senate’s social affairs committee. It is meant to change the definition of “economic lay-offs” so that it excludes companies that have paid dividends to shareholders in the previous year.

Another proposal, to prevent the relocation of industries to countries where the “cost” of labour is lower, proposes defeating the pressure of capital and industrial competition by “levying, after preliminary consultations, national duties on imports into the EU of re-located productions”; and a “kilometre tax in order to curb the transport of freight when it can be avoided”.

Another alternative for sites that are threatened with closure consists in giving workers new powers, notably the power “to pre-empt” or “requisition” their plants. This option, which the Left Front puts forward, is now being investigated by the Ap2E network (Towards a Fair Economy) which federates workers of the fair Economy sector, and workers threatened with the loss of their plants (like those of Sodimedical), trade-unionists, councillors and deputies. The idea is to give priority and support to workers so that they can take over their plants and set up cooperatives.

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