GENERAL STRIKE IN THE FRENCH ANTILLES I
n the French Antilles (Guadeloupe and Martinique) a general strike has completely shut down economic activity on both islands since the 29th of January. The population of these islands are protesting against the cost of living in particular rising costs of essential foodstuffs and fuel. The following interview is aimed at explaining the current movement and the popular anger that launched it. The interviewee, Marcel, lives in Martinique and is a CNT activist. more: http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/show_news.pl?country=Guadeloupe&alllanguages=1&languagename=English&langcode=en
〈=English France Makes New Wage Offer to Guadeloupe VOA News 19 February 2009
Francois Fillon told French radio Thursday mediators have worked out a plan that comes close to the $250 monthly pay increase strikers in Guadeloupe are demanding for low-wage workers. Rioters fired at police and stormed a city hall, overnight Wednesday to Thursday, in Guadeloupe's third straight night of violence.
Weeks of a general strike and protests against the island's rising cost of living have escalated into deadly rioting. Reports from Pointe-a-Pitre, the island's main town, say a union representative was shot to death Tuesday and three police officers have been wounded in the protests. The national government appealed for calm in Guadeloupe and urged protesters to rejoin talks about their economic complaints. The island's protesters also want relief from rising food and fuel prices.
Rioters overturned cars, looted shops and set fires Tuesday night and early Wednesday in Pointe-a-Pitre and two other urban centers in Guadeloupe, which has been governed by France since the 17th century. Protests also have broken out in Martinique, another French Caribbean island, and in Reunion Island, a French territory in the Indian Ocean.
The spreading unrest in France's Caribbean territories has prompted concern that violence could erupt in mainland France, where about 2.5 million people staged a nationwide strike last month to show their disapproval of France's response to the global economic crisis. Salaries in the islands are lower than in mainland France, although many prices are higher, and unemployment rates also are higher. http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-02-19-voa25.cfm
Guadeloupe Strike Rages On Basse Terre, Feb 19 (Prensa Latina) The detention of 33 people in the last few hours and the arrival from France of more police forces are testimony Thursday of the complex situation gripping this Caribbean island, on general strike for a month. One union leader dead, six policemen injured, several fires and sacked stores define the five-week uprisinge, while the Paris government tries to find solutions. Neighboring territories from Martinique and French Guiana are also stage for popular protests, although with less intensity. Originated from the extreme poverty, they are against the economic policies French authorities have maintained.
As the economic recession restates its international nature, further job losses are to be announced in Jamaica and Ireland, while Swedish unemployment rate rises 14% in one month and the International Labour Organisation predicts 7.2 million workers to be made redundant in Asia in 2009.
On 20/02/2009, at 2:06 PM, Facebook wrote: -------------------- Subject: March 19 General Strike, Day of Actions + Guadaloupe * March 19 country-wide day of action in France is official. The negotiations does not seem to be successful. All major unions are not happy about the wage negotiations. Let's keep the solidarity flame on for the March 19 workers actions in France * As you might know, the unlimited general strike in French colony, Guadeloupe is still going on. Protests were escalated and at least one has been shot to dead. For an update and details please join All out for Guadeloupe!
The following is an automated translation from Google. Reaction of unions after the Social Summit *
February 18 The unions will meet Monday evening to decide what form the day of 19 March 2009, but they seem to have agreed to continue to raise the pressure, according to their statements out of the meeting. ..
CFDT: "The action has led to a first change in government policy." "The few measures announced today, particularly for families, go in that direction. But at the situation of employees, the measures are insufficient."
"As the action begins to pay, the CFDT believes it must continue to put pressure on the government and employers" to "go to a real change of direction." François Chérèque.
For the CGT, said the presidential decisions "series of accompanying measures to the social crisis." Recalling that the cost of around 2.6 billion euros, he said he was "forced to reduce this figure to the sum of 8 billion euros" to the companies with the announced abolition of the tax. Bernard Thibault
FP noted "some elements that move a little, on partial unemployment - even if" it is still inadequate "- the training and tax relief. "But it's much too short and we suffered a procedural bar on the minimum wage and wage negotiations branches," he said Mailly, criticizing the "refusal of a moratorium on the thirty miles public "whose deletion is scheduled this year."
Jean Claude Mailly CFTC held that if "the lines have moved a little," the account is not ", especially on salaries. "There have been some restructuring of the families but it is insufficient."
Jacques Voisin CFE-CGC is less critical. "There has been some progress on social dialogue, a consensus on the job, but there is still much to be done to improve compensation of partial unemployment," said. Bernard Van Crayenest