Unions united on Labour Day?
For the first time in many years, six trade unions in the Paris region have decided to take part in a single demonstration for Labour Day, 1997, protesting against racism and xenophobia.
For the past 20 years, there have been separate trade union demonstrations in Paris on 1 May, but this year the local branches of the CGT (Confédération générale du travail), the CFDT (Confédération française démocratique du travail), the CGT-FO (Force Ouvrière), the UNSA (Union nationale des syndicats autonomes), the FSU (Fédération syndicale unitaire) and the Groupe des 10 (autonomous and independent unions) will come together, principally around the themes of the struggle against racism and xenophobia. This decision stems mainly from the National Front's intention to run candidates in the next industrial tribunal elections (FR9703133N).
The CGT-FO confederation did not support its Paris branch in this cooperative move, emphasising that Labour Day should above all be an occasion to establish claims concerning work, wages and social security. Neither the CGC (Confédération générale des cadres) nor the CFTC (Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens) will take part in the action. The CGC never organises a demonstration on this day, and the CFTC prefers to rally its members around the "rebuilding hope" theme, rather than "give the impression of union unity."