If the last strike movement was widely followed and lasted longer than the previous ones, the shortage of fuel should not be for this time since the situation is gradually returning to normal and there are few stations to be closed or partially broken. However, the lack of reaction from the government could have unfortunate consequences in the future according to Geoffrey Caillon, CFDT TotalEnergies coordinator…
“What we fear if there is persistence in this governmental status quo is that there will be a social divide that is widening and that it could have other consequences”
What do you remember from this last week of mobilization against the pension reform?
“The event was totally successful. The first objective was to be as much as possible on March 7. Now, there are some consequences since the strike movements have continued until today. It is in the process of returning despite everything towards the resumption of activity almost everywhere. The objective was not to remain on strike indefinitely. Now, on the sequel, we are waiting to see the reaction in the face. We are a little more pessimistic than we could have been before March 7. We are not immune to a good surprise, as they say. For the moment, our concern is that we have the impression that we have no consideration on the part of the government. There is not only parliamentary or political democracy, there is also social democracy. It’s not once, it’s not twice, it’s already 6 times that the workers have expressed themselves in such a massive way, and we are expecting the 7th next Saturday. We, what concerns us, is to see that opposite, it is not constructive, there is no answer. What we fear if there is persistence in this governmental status quo is that there will be a social divide that is widening and that it could have other consequences”.
“If we look at what happened with the episode of the yellow vests who demanded legitimate things, it was the violence that paid”
What consequences exactly?
“This stubbornness, it will give way to bitterness, it will give way to more extreme positions. This can lead to violence from some. If we look at what happened with the episode of the yellow vests who demanded legitimate things, it was the violence that paid off. This message is dangerous for democracy and social balance in France. We, this is what we defend at the CFDT: why do we still not want to listen to trade union organizations which have positioned themselves responsibly, without violence, without disintegrating the economy? It’s dangerous to let this message get across that says that as long as you don’t touch the wallets of certain powers or certain companies, nothing happens. For us, violence is not the solution”.
“The CFDT does not have the will to block fuel logistics”
To date, what is the situation in refineries?
“In the majority of refineries and industrial sites, there is rather a halt in the strike movement. There are still a few sites where the movement is still ongoing, but it’s hard to say if it can stop since there are staff assemblies that meet regularly and together define the follow-up to be given to the movement. What I can say is that there is still a petrochemical site in Carling (in Moselle, editor’s note) where things will be discussed today. In Feyzin, it doesn’t seem to take and there is no desire to stop the tool. In Normandy, the CFDT did not call to stop the installations. In Donges, there is a staff meeting which will take place this Friday but it is stopped for technical reasons, and not because of the strike movement. And I know shipments on a lot of refineries are still running, so the flow of fuel through logistics isn’t blocked. If we look at what is happening elsewhere, at ExxonMobil, there are no longer any strikers to my knowledge on the Normandy site. The CFDT does not want to block fuel logistics. It’s not the meaning of the story but it can become the meaning of the story. If there is stubbornness and there is a refusal to listen to those who are reasonable, there may come a time when it can happen”.
The Senate adopted yesterday evening the very controversial article 7 of the pension reform, the one bringing the legal age of departure to 64 years, not really a surprise according to you?
“No, indeed, we are not really surprised. There is a right-wing majority which is more severe than the government majority. On the other hand, what we expect is to know who will whistle the end of the match to say “the final result, that will be it”. The return to the National Assembly will be decisive. We have not changed our position, we have not changed our arguments: we must stop with this question of 64 years, period. We are ready to discuss everything else, we are ready to discuss a reform, we say that we can do otherwise and that we must stop carrying out budgetary reform. Because it is one”.
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