Following the decision of French judicial authorities to summon and prosecute several FNME-CGT trade union leaders and activists for collective action during the pension reform protests, including General Secretary Sébastien Menesplier, industriAll Europe has taken a series of actions jointly with European public service unions (EPSU) to mobilise against these attacks on fundamental trade union freedoms. Trade union action is not a crime!
On the 6 September 2023, industriAll Europe and EPSU have jointly called for solidarity actions with our French affiliate FNME-CGT from across Europe to coincide with time that Sébastien Menesplier has been summoned to the gendarmerie in Montmorency.
This decision, to target union leaders, comes in the aftermath of the mass industrial action taken to oppose the government’s pension reforms and the closure of pension funds for electricity and gas workers in France. It is the first time that French union leaders have been charged with public safety charges in the context of strike action at different sites across France. It is a direct attack on the fundamental trade union freedoms and the right to strike and marks the first instance of a confederal leader being summoned on public safety charges for engaging in trade union activism.
In addition to Sébastien, Renaud Henri (General Secretary of CGT’s energy workers in Marseilles), together with his colleagues Mathias and Jean-Philippe, are due to appear in court there in September. While in November, the leader of CGT energy workers in the Gironde region, Christophe Garcia and his colleague Alexandre will be in court in Bordeaux.
FNME-CGT is protesting in front of Montmorency police station on September 6th at 9am to demonstrate against the repression of trade union activists and the assault on the right to strike. As the European trade union federations that represent energy workers, industriAll Europe and EPSU will stage a solidarity protest outside the French embassy in Brussels on the same day and at the same time.
Trade union repression is a global issue, as are attacks on the right to strike and on collective trade union action. The right to strike is under attack across Europe, and legislation is emerging in several countries like France, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Italy. They are designed to constrain us. An attack on one trade union leader represents an attack on all workers and their leaders.
We will not stand idly by. Union repression must be resisted wherever and whenever it occurs. IndustriAll Europe and our affiliates stand in full solidarity with our brothers and sisters in FNME-CGT.