THE WALTZ BEFORE THE STORM

Here an overview of collected information about big companies workers reaction- facing a new economic plan, and a global strategy of the bosses and ministers to treat the social explosion. So, of course, the ‚crisis‘ period is followed- at the job places- of massif redundancy, and a general tension. But it goes also with a legal treatment: the new laws to make strikes illegal, while it’s a so common weapon, could only be followed of disobedience, sudden strikes, and the intervention of the Order forces. Brice Hortefeux, while minister of Work and Social business, design these forms of protests as “sabotages”…

JANUARY 29th, AUXERRE (YONNE): The employees of the Fulmen factory ( Exide technology), makers of batteries, are fighting against the closing of the factory. During the strike, they demanded that the boss join them in demonstration; with a T-shirt listing how many employees he would fire.

JANUARY 31st: General strike. In Paris, there are still collectives waiting 6 hours for their turn in the march, after the start of the demonstration

MARCH 5th, AUCHEL ( PAS-DE-CALAIS): The employers of the vehicles equipment manufacturer Faurecia are in general strike after the announcement of its closing at the end of 2010 ( firing 179 of the 508 employees currently at the factory. The other 329 will be dispersed on two different sites) .The blockade of these workshops will stop almost totally the production for its clients- especially Toyota, in Onnaing (Nord) , Renault in Maubeuge (Nord), and Volvo in Gand(Belgium). More than the legal severance pay (redundancy compensations), they will receive 3000 euros each and restart work on March 23rd. On April 30th, the factory is blocked again for one week, during which a fight starts with the security guards. The CRS are called to separate, survey, and let three trucks enter the factory…

MARCH 13th, PONTONX-SUR-L‘ADOUR (LANDES): During the last Company committee before the closing ( 311 redundancies announced for February 17th), Sony Frances‘ CEO is kidnapped during the night. He’s released the day after, to permit him to go to the Prefecture (administrative building of police head-quarter) of Dax for a final conciliation meeting. Two weeks later, the workers will have 13millions euros more ( 10 000e added to the 45 000e severance pay) and ‚better‘ conditions of ‚reordering‘.

MARCH 16th, DIJON, CHEVIGNY-SAINT-SAUVEUR (COTE D‘OR),APPOIGNY (YONNE): Three days before the last Central Company Committee, occupation of two factories and logistic centres of Amora-maille (Unilever) by picketing in front of the entrance, not allowing anyone or anything to pass.

The closing (244 employment fired) was announced the 28 November 2008. In Chevigny a stock of 22 000 pallets is kept as “war treasure”. The March 27th, each one receives 50 000e for damages, added to the legal severance pay, and start the work again on March 30st.

MARCH 19th: General strike. Demonstration called by the unions. In Paris, almost 400 000 persons in the streets. At the end of the demo, in Nation, 300 persons are arrested, circled. 49 persons are accused.

MARCH 20th, PITHIVIERS(LOIRET): General strike of 3M Sante workers (which produces aerosols, tablets and patches). On September, 110 of the 235 employees will be fired. On the afternoon of the 24th, the CEO of this American company is kidnapped. He’s released the day after, after more than 30 hours. On April the 2nd, the workers will have a base of indemnity of 30 000e each, an mobility leave of 15 months and the redundancies reported to November 2010.

March 30th, MARNES-LA-JOLIE( YVELINES): Around 10 o‘clock, 50 workers on strike, with factory occupation, since the 24 February, invade the corporate headquarters of FCI Microconnections in Versailles. The CEO and the DRH are kidnapped for 4 hours. They want guaranties against the relocation to Singapore. On April the 10th, after new renegotiation, 400 workers will have two years of severance pay, and a guaranty there will be no ’social‘ changes until 2011. They start working again on the 14th.

MARCH 31st, PARIS: About 50 workers of La Fnac and Conforama, where 1 200 lay offs are announced, blocked Francois-Henri Pinaults‘ car, the CEO, for more than an hour. While blocking the car, they sang: “Pinault, sale escroc, la crise elle a bond dos”- „Pinault, nasty shark, the crises is profitable”, and barred the road with garbage. Cops came to ‚liberate‘ him. On May 7th, the shareholders, while gathered in Paris to vote over the dividends of the company, were attacked with eggs and shoes. This group includes Conforama, Redcats, Puma, Gucci group…

APRIL 6th, ONNAING ( NORD): 400 of the 1700 workers from Toyota factory start a general strike. On 16th, in the evening, the blockade starts; no more Yaris goes out… the parts providers are then blocked. They demand that all the money be paid for those working part-time. On the 20th, they stop and are paid 90 percent of their salaries.

APRIL 7th, BELLEGRADE- SUR- VASELINE (AIN): four managers of Scapa, a British company specializing in adhesives tapes for automobiles, are kidnapped at the end of a negotiation meeting. The factory will close, letting aside 60 workers. The Director of European operations, the financial director, personnel director, and the general director of Scapa France are released the day after- and are police escorted to the town council, where they continue negotiations. The prime passes from 890 000 to 1,7 millions euros. They start to work again on April the 9th.

APRIL 9th, BRIERES-LES-SCELLES (ESSONE):
Employees of the research department of Faurecia kidnap three managers during the Central Company Committee: on December 11th, they announced 1215 lay offs, between 2009 and 2010. The Essone site director, the human resources director, and Director of Socials Matters are released after 5 hours, without reaching a negotiation. The committee is adjourned until April the 28th.

APRIL 9th, THONON- LES- BAINS(HAUTE SAVOIE): Rencast group, specialising in the aluminium foundry for automobile, has declared bankruptcy since March 18th, and the workers are on strike since the 24th.

182 workers of one factory (on a total of 850 workers in the company), put back in the furnace 3400 pieces destined to Renault- for the fabrication of Twingo- and 80% of the production destined to PSA, the day after.

APRIL 18th: Fishermen block the ports of Calais, Dunkerque and Boulogne and accept 4 Million euros. In the department of Moselle, 1000 (of 2600 in total) workers of Arcelor block a station where steel is delivered.

APRIL 20th, VILLEMUR-SUR-TARN (HAUTE GARONNE): Workers of Molex, automobile equipment manufacturer, kidnap three managers, for 26 hours. The closure of this company is announced for June (286 lay offs). The negotiation that follows in the Police headquarters is blocked- the factory is under ‚lockout‘.

APRIL 21st: ErDF GrDF. The electricity and gaz companies are privatized. A third ‚Action Day‘ declared by the unions. In Agen, the electricity was cut off several times for a duration of 10 minutes each time, in police headquarters, the head union ( le Medef), the train station, la gendarmerie ( the police branch of the army), some companies in the industrial zone. Electricity bills of thousands of houses is cut in half. After this lasts for 15 days, the Direction refuses to answer.
In Toulouse, about 50 people break into the Regional Direction offices. Staying only a few minutes, their faces fully masked, they throw computers, printers and documents through the windows. Despite the masks covering faces, the Direction called several employers the day after for questioning.

APRIL 23rd: Fourth ‚Action day for the EDF strikes. Again planned power cuts. In Caen, the hospital receives free electricity. Next to Bordeaux, with wigs and white masks, dozen of employees arrive to the general post, and cut off power to several hotels, banks, insurance agencies, and supermarkets.

MAY 5th, AVIGNON: After 2 months of fighting, during the night a group of people damaged about 40 cars of the company. All the wheels are removed and are tagged: « today we are nice ».

MAY 6th, LAGNY-LE-SAC (OISE): The strikers of Lear, an American vehicles equipment manufacturer, are evicted from the factory by the CRS, after a court decision. On strike for 4 weeks, against the site closing, four workers are called to go to court for the blockage-accused by the direction.

MAY 12th: Entering by force the Director’s office during his absence, a few people put stickers on his family pictures and released cockroaches all over the room. Three days later, in Paris, the office of the gas union (AFG) is occupied and ransacked. On May 19th, during the film festival in Cannes, cinemas and big hotels are cut off their electricity. The CGT union claims it had nothing to do with the afternoon protest.

JUNE 10th, MALAUCENE (VAUCLUSE): Four managers of the paper factory (belonging to Schweitzer-Mauduit) are kidnapped for an entire night. Burnt pallets bar the entrance. During the day, while preparing to receive the Company Committee with loud music and sandwiches, eggs are thrown through the broken windows. The closing, announced on April 17th, will fire 210 people. Threatening to call the cops, they are liberated.

25 JUNE, CLERMONT-FERRAND: After a second sucide in the company, there is a protest of 1000 Michelin workers. Eggs, fireckrackers and smoke grenades are thrown.

JULY 2d, CHATEULLERAULT : The workers of New Fabris destroy a machine when the responsable for re-industrialisation comes to visit the factory. 10 days later, the workers threaten to explose the bulding: gas containers are put in all over the factory. On the 17th, they destroy a ninth machine.

JUNE 25th, CLERMONT-FERRAND: After a second sucide in the company, there is a protest of 1000 Michelin workers. Eggs, fireckrackers and smoke grenades are thrown.

JULY 6th, PORT-DE-DOUC: strikers of Azur-Chimie kidnap their CEO, managers and one shareholder of the ICIG group.

JULY 18th, TONNEINS: After having threatened to explose the factory with gas containers, the employers were not sued. In the department of Loire, after one month of strikes, the CEO of the water compagny Parot goes on vacation; « the strike will continue when the boss comes back ».

JULY 19th, ALES: arson attacks against the Offices for Work.

JULY 22d, BLANZY: kidnapping of 4 Michelin managers to protest against the disciplinary repression against an employer. In Châteaufort July 14th, employees threaten to explose the factory with gas containers. They get the 30 000 to 50 000 euros they were demanding. In Fos-sur-Mer, the kidnapping of the boss of Lyondell Bassel takes place. A factory belonging to the same group is blocked. The ethylene canal- providing several petrochimical factories- is closed.

JULY 23rd, ROISSY: Air Service employees block their CEO at the Roissy airport for several hours. Three days later, 4 people go to court for « kidnapping », « blocus », « illegal trouble », and « permanent moral trouble ».

JULY 29th, MARSEILLE: About 40 workers of the port, some full masked and armed with axes and bars, enter the Director General’s office while he’s inside. Probably to protest the privatization of a terminal.

AUGUST 5th, DERICHEBOURG: Trouble between the employers and the Vigimarks bodyguards. Trying to occupy the Direction offices, the employers are stopped by the Direction’s dogs. A guard finishes his day at the hospital.

AUGUST 6th, VILLEMUR-SUR-TARN: A high manager attacked by the strikers; and protected by the CGT union. The factory is closed.

AUGUST 13th, LEGRE-MANTES: Three employers are evicted from their factory by two CRS units. They wanted to occupy the bulding on July 24th after its official closing. Some neighbours showed their support. The factory is built on a surface estimated to cost 42 million euros

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    CATERPILLAR FIGHT

    Echirolles and Grenoble ( Isère)

    FEBRUARY 17th : the direction decides to lay off of 733 of the 2800 employees.

    FEBRUARY 26th:
    Negotiation day: 400 strikers in front of the factory. The managers who leave by car get attacked by eggs, insults and also a smoke torch. The strikers are joined by some student protesters. About 30 people try to enter the administration building.

    FEBRUARY 27th: The factory is blocked, the ‚piquets-de-grève‘ (strike pickets) last all the day, it ends with the cops coming.

    March 2d: Day of ‚half- blockage‘ on two sites, by 200 strikers during the negotiation. Outside, a smoke torch lands in an office and tyres of five non-strikers cars are punctured.

    MARCH 18th: To force negotiation, eggs are thrown at the cameras and windows of the offices; then occupation of the Grenoble site takes place, after a scrap with the security guards. The “outsider anarchists” are sent off the Assembly (what is this?) by the unions, at the demand of cops. The police headquarters call a mediator in.

    MARCH 24th: Blockage of the rail station during 30 minutes, and then of the circulation.

    MARCH 25th: 200 demonstrators (students, caterpillar workers and other) try an ‚auto-réduction‘ (free- tolls action) at the market Monoprix. It fails before it starts, owing to the lake of determination and the sabotage of the Union CGT-caterpillar.

    MARCH 28th: 400 workers demonstrate until the Chamber of Commerce with a banner: “ we will not pay their crisis”, blocking also the rail station.

    MARCH 30th: The Direction boycotts the Works Council, asking before the end
    of the strike that starts again this day.

    MARCH 31st: Four managers, the Grenoble factory director, a responsible of the personnel service and a responsible of purchase are kidnapped during 24hours ( a fifth one, human resources manager- but cardiac- is released 9hours later). They are released in exchange for the pay of 3 day of strikes- and go back to negotiate at the Department Direction of Work.

    APRIL 6th:
    Under the pressure of the base, the unionist delegates renounce to go to the Elysée.

    APRIL 7th:
    Again negotiation at the department Direction of Work. 200 demonstrators throw eggs and firecrackers, after having done a ‚free-tolls‘ action. The direction propose now 600 redundancies and 50 millions for the social plan, in exchange for an adjustment of working time.

    APRIL 15th:
    The workers reject this plan in their Assembly and install piquets-de-grève, and a camp outside the Echirolles factory, despite the cops.

    APRIL 16th: The employers prevent the elected representative going to an umpteenth meeting with the direction. Nine workers from Grenoble site are accused of “ hindrance of working liberty” and have a trial. At Echirolles, the factory is from now on protected by the CRS (anti-riot police).

    APRIL 17th: 8 workers of Echirolles site are accused of “illegal occupation of buildings”. All of them are condemned to pay 200e per offence.

    APRIL 20th:
    A first agreement, which is decided between the unionists and the direction, at the Finances minister the night before, is presented at the Works Council. The anger explodes, and they are insulted. At 14.30 workers prevent physically the Works Councils delegates from seeing the direction again, with eggs and firecrackers in the face. 400 workers at partial-unemployment go back to work, several are strikers. The referendum on this agreement is adjourned.

    ………………………………………………………


    CONTINENTAL

MARCH 12, CLAIROIX (OISE): The workers of Continental start a wild strike (they don’t announce it), and denounce the closing on end of 2010, they learnt the day before. Several hundreds of the 1120 employers require that the director of the site, Louis Forzy, comes justify his decision. He just entered the room that he is bombed with eggs (one hit him on the face), forcing him to go away. 500 workers, refusing then to start work again, block the RN32 circulation. On March 16th, the Central Committee of the company is suspended after eggs, shoes and bottles are thrown on the Direction. The workers from Clairoix came by car to express their anger. On March 25th, as the unionist are in the Elysée, 1000 workers (helped by workers of other companies), demonstrating and blocked by the cops, built a barricade of burnt tyres. On april 21st, unhappy that the Works Council dismisses all the decisions ( including the to invalid the closing), about 400 workers lay waste to the sub-headquarters of the police (offices, computers, windows), that made a complain, and then the guard office of the factory. Seven persons, visible on the TV camera, are sued. They risk 5 years of prison and 75 000e of tax. The factory is lockout the day after. On May 5th, 300 workers, coming from Clairoix by cars, occupy suddenly a factory in Moselle- the only factory that continues to produce tyres; “Solidarity Continental!”. They were supposed to meet in Germany for a common demonstration, finally deleted. They burn tyres outside and are joined by the workers coming from Mosells. Not really knowing how to behave, the police protects its headquarters.
On May 30th, an accord is found with the direction: the salary will be maintained to 100% until October, then to 75% until 2014. Adding to that, a 50 000e prime is given. After 2 months and half of fight, this is not so bad… Obviously, the force they experimented together during these weeks gave a reason to continue, instead of going home again. On July 3rd, employers of Continental join the demonstration of Goodyear in Amiens. Starting the demo from the barricaded factory, the 2000 demonstrators walk to the centre. On the way, they call the Dunlop factory workers to join the march. Two days later, in Compiègne, employers of Continental and Goodyear burn tyres on the principal roads. A month later, a big party is organized in Margny-les-Compiègne ; time to meet again Lear and Goodyear partners…

Concerning the 7 persons sued for the saccage of the police sub-headquarters,hundreds of people wait outside the trial on July 17th. The prosecutor asked from 3 to 6 months of suspended sentence,but no fine. On September 1st, the judgement comes: 3 to 5 months of suspended prison sentence. They appeal against this decision.

Trial on January 2010 13

    Information taken from “Sans préavis” n°1 and n°2 Jura libertaire .

    most of these facts and numbers come from bourgeois newspapers.