The leaflet that the members of LSP/PSL distributed on the picket traces and actions was nicely obtained with quite a lot of dialogue on the necessity for nationalization of the complete vitality sector, but additionally on easy methods to transfer ahead to construct a relation of forces.
In our leaflet, we defined that there was quite a lot of hesitation earlier than this strike and that some union leaders didn’t throw their full weight into mobilization. There may be nonetheless work to be carried out to generalize our protest. We want a program and motion plan that outlines easy methods to go on the offensive to win.
Launching an motion plan with common and regional strikes from a serious nationwide demonstration may present the impetus for this. This preparation is greatest carried out as quickly as potential, with assemblies of all employees within the workplaces, activist conferences throughout completely different sectors and areas to guage this strike and to debate and vote on the following steps.
Our members offered 140 copies of our month-to-month paper on the dozens of pickets they visited. Under is a translation of the leaflet we distributed.
Construct the wrestle with a plan of escalating actions
— Nationalize the vitality sector!
— Elevate all wages: 2 euros an hour extra for everybody, minimal wages of 15 euros an hour!
When issues have been dangerous, like in the course of the pandemic, working folks saved the whole lot working. When issues obtained a bit higher, late final 12 months, the bosses have been the primary to fill their pockets. Now, what do employees get? Hovering inflation and skyrocketing vitality costs. We’re imagined to make do with peanuts!
On 11 October, a mom and daughter have been killed in Wilrijk, Antwerp, by Carbon Monoxide poisoning. They have been making an attempt to warmth their home by lighting a barbecue inside. The hearth brigade are afraid of watching the results of despair this winter. If we don’t arrange the anger with an bold battle plan round working class actions, tragedies will comply with. If discontent is bottled up at residence, different forces, together with the far proper, may use it to strengthen division and distress.Delegation of younger members of LSP visiting picket at Eastman chemical firm
Nonetheless, there are union leaders who imagine the federal government might be reasoned with. Thus they don’t correctly mobilize for wrestle. The politicians, bosses and media ruthlessly exploit this. Nevertheless, the dramatic scenario is forcing the labor motion to take motion in opposition to excessive vitality costs, for increased wages and extra assets for companies. Based on the Nationwide Financial institution of Belgium (NBB), the revenue margin of non-financial firms reached a brand new report excessive within the second quarter: 45.2%. So there are assets to lift all wages!
Previously few weeks alone, there have been strikes on the railways, French-speaking schooling, the Dutch-speaking public tv and radio VRT and safety personnel at Charleroi airport. Amongst federal civil servants, there’s an indefinite strike discover from 9 November. There are protests by employees in Flemish childcare. Social employees in Brussels are mobilizing in opposition to the shortage of assets. Brussels firefighters held a common meeting to announce sector-specific actions following the final strike on 9 November. All over the place, the workload is unsustainable. Governments have rejected employees calls for for extra assets in these sectors. There may be even a discount within the progress bundle (the proportion to extend the means) for healthcare! The momentary handouts to the bosses on the contributions they pay as a part of our wages, as lately determined by the federal government for the primary half of 2023 (a handout of 1 billion euro) will add to the shortages.
Picket at TotalEnergies refinery in Antwerp
Within the aftermath of actions of the joint entrance of union federations on 20 October in entrance of vitality firms, the bus drivers of the TEC in Charleroi determined to go on a spontaneous strike to proceed the struggle in opposition to excessive vitality costs. The strikers then went to the waste assortment firm TIBI to interact the drivers of their actions.
Now we have no different alternative however to wrestle
We all know that weak spot invitations aggression. Governments and managers will interpret any hesitancy on the a part of the unions as a license for an avalanche of distress: an assault on the automated indexation of wages (additionally know as a ‘sliding scale’, w to rising costs) just like the 1993 World Plan that launched the ‘well being indexation’, zero margin wages within the subsequent nationwide collective agreements (that means no pay will increase on prime of the automated indexation) and new cuts in social safety.
Worry and anger are usually not essentially completely different in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. If there’s a distinction in dynamics, it’s partly as a result of political panorama and the accompanying public debate. The 2014 motion plan (with a nationwide demonstration of 150,000 adopted by regional strikes build up in the direction of a robust nationwide common strike) confirmed how the labor motion can flip the general public debate round. Solely the shortage of a second even greater motion plan saved the federal government at the moment. The scenario is equally critical at this time.
Picket at GSK, pharmaceutical firm in Wavre
We should not permit ourselves to be divided: the place the motion is already stronger, this place have to be used to tug others alongside. Therein additionally lies the significance of calls for resembling a common wage improve of two euros per hour (or 330 euros monthly) and a rise within the minimal wage to fifteen euros per hour. That method, we will unite the entire labor motion round a transparent objective and be sure that the sectors the place the unions are much less robust at this time are usually not left behind.
Picket-line in entrance of Radison lodge in Brussels
The bumps say they can not afford it. Allow them to open their books! Then employees can examine whether or not it’s true or whether or not shareholders and managers have merely plundered the reserves. A brand new worldwide restructuring threatens jobs at Pepsico in Zaventem, an organization that made $3 billion in income within the final quarter alone! When threatened with mass layoffs or closure: occupy, expropriate and nationalize beneath employees’ management and administration to save lots of jobs and meet neighborhood wants.
That is solely a starting, sustain the wrestle!
This primary common strike needs to be evaluated at common assemblies and democratic conferences that carry collectively employees from completely different sectors. This is a perfect time to debate the strengths but additionally the weaknesses of the strike, to refine the platform with sector-specific calls for, and to debate and democratically vote on plans to proceed to construct the motion.
There have to be a brand new incremental and constructive plan of motion. If we wish to persuade the entire of society and get them behind the labor motion, we want an actual present of energy. The demonstration on November 6, 2014 (150,000 folks) was the largest union demonstration since 1986. Nobody then doubted who may give a result in society. A brand new mass demonstration may additionally carry collectively younger folks, pensioners, the unemployed and even the self-employed and small companies (shopkeepers in Liège and Brussels are already calling for solidarity with the 9 November strike) across the labor motion and assist construct momentum for brand spanking new nationwide strike days preceded by provincial strikes.
We are able to take inspiration from the refinery strikes in France, which have been renewed day by day usually assemblies by the strikers themselves. The revolt in opposition to the excessive price of dwelling just isn’t solely happening in Belgium, it’s a global wrestle. We are able to be taught classes from different international locations and work in the direction of worldwide coordination within the struggle in opposition to capitalism in disaster.
Blocking costs by nationalization
Whole has already made greater than $17 billion in income this 12 months, however expects whole European ‘extra income tax’ to be solely $1 billion. To actually management costs, the complete vitality sector have to be expropriated and nationalized. This request was taken up by some commerce unions. By spearheading it, we will provide a perspective to all these anxiously awaiting the following vitality invoice.
The demand that greatest meets present wants is that of the metalworkers union, MWB (Métallos Wallonie-Bruxelles) of the FGTB/ABVV federation: “Vitality have to be acknowledged as a standard good of first necessity and should subsequently be managed by a public monopoly that defends the pursuits of employees and customers. We demand the nationalization of the sector.” All unions and the left occasion PTB/PVDA ought to take such a place and make it a central focus, not a fringe demand. Extra restricted calls for can neither cease the brutal collective impoverishment nor meet the local weather problem. The nationalization of the complete vitality sector needs to be accompanied by the nationalization of the complete monetary sector to finish hypothesis and to have the assets wanted for healthcare, childcare, schooling, and public transport.
This might liberate the mandatory assets for large investments in inexperienced vitality for households and small merchants. The market doesn’t work. We want rational and ecological planning of the financial system. To keep away from bureaucratic mismanagement, this have to be carried out beneath the management and management of the employees themselves. This means establishing committees at workplaces with democratically elected representatives of the workforce, commerce unions and the neighborhood as an entire (together with the area people and shoppers). That is what we imply by a socialist society.