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CGT Leader Wants to Mobilize on Oct. 9 to “Defend Industry and Jobs”

Translated Saturday 1 September 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Bill Scoble

In an interview with the AFP on Aug 29, Bernard Thibault said the economic and social situation in France is alarming. He announced that the CGT would demonstrate in several cities on Oct. 9. He also announced a mobilization against the ratification of the European budget treaty.

“From our point of view, there is a form of alarm on the social and economic situation,” Mr. Thibault stated following the Aug. 28 general assembly of the CGT trade union confederation, which brought together its federations and départemental unions. “Since the social conference” held in July, “the situation has deteriorated significantly,” he said.

“This confirms our regret that, at the social conference, there were no other announcements on the part of the government to meet the urgency of the employment situation, notably with regard to restructuring.” “Given the urgency of the situation,” the CGT is launching “an initial initiative on October 9 for the defense of industry and jobs” in the framework of a “week of mobilization decided on by the European Federation of Industry,” the CGT leader emphasized. Demonstrations are planned in the big cities (Paris, Lyons, Bordeaux, etc.). “The government has got to realize the urgency of the situation and the expectations,” he said. “Discontent was high and resulted in a change in the Presidency of France [Nicolas Sarkozy was not re-elected – translator’s note] and it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of impatience, in view of the deteriorating situation.”

Mobilizing against the European treaty, too

Moreover, the CGT is going to launch “an information and mobilization campaign to communicate the position of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) rejecting the European treaty, which may be submitted for ratification in the coming weeks,” Mr. Thibault stated. “We’re going to campaign for non-ratification of this treaty by France, no matter what procedure is used,” Mr. Thibault said. The government intends to have Parliament ratify the text, whereas the Left Front, Attac, l’Humanité and many others are calling for a referendum.

The CGT “is going to develop material for the general public, including a petition to be circulated in the workplaces, which is going to allow employees to express themselves in favor of non-ratification of this treaty,” Mr. Thibault said.

A unified demonstration against the European treaty is planned for September 30, but the CGT has not yet announced whether it will participate. The Attac association is warning against conducting a lot of uncoordinated mobilizations.

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