The ballot boxes have just been put back into storage, and the government and the bosses already are back to business. The bosses had waited a few weeks or months before announcing bad news about jobs, to avoid embarrassment for the government. But they didn’t even wait 48 hours to make announcement after announcement about plant closures and massive job cuts. Hugh Bailey – who used to be Macron’s advisor at the Department of Economy when Alstom was sold to General Electric, and then became executive officer of… General Electric France – just announced 1,044 job cuts in GE’s Belfort factory. This massive layoff could be the starting point of the plant closure, despite the denial from GE’s management. That same day, the buyer of whirlpool Amiens – where Macron had shown himself during the presidential campaign – announced that the factory is filing for bankruptcy protection, due to lack of activity.
Underlings to serve big business
Then some ministerial minions started appearing on TV news, repeating the same phony excuses to justify the layoffs, which are supposed to be an unavoidable consequence of the necessary “ecological transition.” And this was sprinkled with a few lies, such as when the Economy under-secretary promises an “exemplary social plan” with “as many redeployments as possible” for the Belfort plant. Exemplary layoffs and the unemployment agency waiting on hand and foot, thank you boss!
As for workers from companies already threatened with closure, such as Ascoval, Arjowiggins, the Poitou Foundries, they have been laid around by the nose for months with endless negotiations to find a “buyer” which, most often, turns out to be nothing but a social plan subcontractor of the large corporations.
Macron wants to resume the attacks
For the government, the European elections were just a break, and “act 2” is ready to roll.
It will start with brutal attacks against public servants and public sector employees: more than 125,000 job cuts. In hospitals, post offices, schools, or railways, managers and cost-killers are waging the attack with continual “reorganisations” and workload increases. The same methods that Orange employees had been victims of, the managers of which are now facing trial for having caused much sick leave, depression, burnouts and suicides.
A pension reform is also on the agenda. The new “points system” will force people to delay retirement and will cut down pensions.
Icing on the cake, electricity prices just went up by 5.9 % on June 1st. Facing the yellow jackets’ anger, the government had put the increase on hold in January. So a new increase of 1 to 2 % is planned for the end of August to allow corporations to get it back 6 months later. This could bring back all the yellow jackets on the roundabouts before the summer holidays!
Pull the rug from under them
After getting in office, Macron wanted to quickly implement the pro-business policy he had promised to the bosses. But the yellow jackets’ anger slowed him down greatly.
In addition to this movement, which is far from being over, the strikes of emergency department staff are growing. There are also strikes in post offices against reorganisations. New fights will unavoidably start, given the new layoff announcements – and they will be stronger if they coordinate. This would be the beginning of a new movement that could stop the “act 2” of the bosses’ president.