Newsletter June 2017 - A neoliberal coup

Macron wants to deliver

The newly elected  French president  Emmanuel Macron has now, shortly after the vote, started tackling  what he considers to be the most important economic project :  the deregulation of the labour laws, something which, in his eyes, he only partially implemented during his time as minister for the economy under François Hollande. Doing so he wants to, at last,  follow the German example and perhaps overtake Germany. The project, for which he has himself taken on the responsibility,  is one of great significance even within the rest of Europe . He announced that the framework legislation will already be in place by summer, during he french holiday season. It will be valid without a vote in parliament, the details can be defined by ordinances of the government. A press secretary of the government added on a precautionary note that no one has the right block France – which however would hardly be possible to do in the summer months anyway.

 A neoliberal coup. We would, in the following paragraphs,  like to warn you of the fatal consequences for France and Europe .

 Marketable employees soon in France too?

On the one hand Macron wants to largely get rid of the protection from termination of employment so as to simplify the process of dismissal of workers and reduce the cost of redundancies for employers. On the other hand, and this is the core of the project, the object is to break the power of the nationally organized labour unions and the nation-wide validity of the collective bargaining agreements. After the deregulation of labour laws last year it is already possible to decide upon questions of working hours on a factor by factory basis. In future it would be possible to decide upon other matters such as remuneration between the enterprises and employee representatives. The company agreements are to have priority over the national labour laws. Only if a labour union represents more than 50% of the workers would they be allowed to take part in the negotiations at the factory level. If that were to happen, not only would the minority labour unions be left out of the loop, the power of the national labour unions and the scope of the industry-wide wage agreements would have been broken.

 Even better than the export world champion ?

In Germany the deregulation of labour under the chancellorship of Gerhard Schröder caused the unit labour costs to sink dramatically and allowed the exporting enterprises to conquer new markets with lower prices. Is Macron in the process of achieving an even greater deregulation of labour to outdo the export champion Germany?

 The dangerous example of Germany

The chart above shows clearly That in the economically exemplary country Germany the golden fate of the export enterprises is not the same as that of the employees in the country.  They have not only lost considerable income as against their colleagues  in other developed countries. (the lower half has indeed suffered a real income loss of between 13.1 and 23.1 percent ) In spite of prosperous companies there are now more well educated people who often have to simultaneously hold  2-3 insecure jobs, often just to be able to pay the rising rents

 The ruinous competition of the export champions

Just following the role model of Germany has fatal consequences. Not all can be export champions. A nation with a strong export surplus always needs other nations that import more than they export.  If France soon also terrorizes the neighboring economies with low wages (and Spain, Italy, Greece are also trying to do the same) then we all will be the losers. The wages will be lower all over, Employees all over will  lose out on rights and security.   They are all wooing the markets so that these so called investors can expect the best yields with the lowest labour costs – a competition which only delivers a progressive  impoverishment and deprivation of all EU citizens.

 This development is not God-given

let us not continue to watch whilst almost all the citizens of Europe lose out on social security and ar sent into competition wars, in which all areas of existence are progressively included. This development is not without alternatives. We only have a chance if we can see and follow through on our interests. The film „ Marketable people“  is to be the tool for that.

 We appeal to you:  let us make the provisional final spurt! Help us to see to it that this film is made. which strengthens our solidarity, and rescues us from the danger of sinking into  competition with one another while the rich get ever richer.