Date: Wed, 1 Oct 97 11:55:23 CDT
From: "Workers World" <>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: Workers around the world: 10/2/97
Via Workers World News Service

Workers keep up the pressure

By G. Dunkel, Workers World, 2 October 1997

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin campaigned on a platform of 35 hours work for 39 hours pay. Now unions there are pushing hard for the jobs, pay, working hours and pensions Jospin promised.

According to a recent survey by the national statistics institute in France, while the legal work week is 39 hours, more than half of full-time workers put in 41 hours a week. The four French railway unions called for a one-day strike Oct. 8, two days before a national conference on employment. Jospin had promised to make job creation his top priority. These unions led a three-week strike in 1995 that nearly brought the country to a standstill.

The same week, unions at France Telecom called for a day of action in the streets Sept. 30 to protest the government's plans to sell 20 percent of the company to private investors. The two largest unions there are cooperating in the action despite their ideological differences and their different proposals to solve the crisis.

On Sept. 19, some 300 workers blocked the entrances at the high-tech Thomson-CSF firm. They set off strings of firecrackers, blew sirens and hung banners demanding that the Thomson subsidiary Thomainfor be re-acquired. Thomainfor is one of the leading computer and data processing maintenance corporations in Europe. It had been spun off to a U.S. company that went bankrupt.

Leftists in Paris are mobilizing against the National Front (FN), a racist and fascist party in France. The FN is planning a two-day festival in Paris Sept. 28 and 29. To meet this direct challenge to the French left and progressive movement, the Communist Party initiated a broad-based coalition of 84 organizations, including representatives of the governing Socialist Party. The coalition plans mass activities against the FN and fascism.