The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Martinique:
Stop Repressing Unionists!

Feb 15, 2021

Translated from Combat Ouvrier (Workers’ Combat), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active on the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the West Indies.

Worker militants on the French Caribbean island of Martinique face more and more attacks because of their union activity. Reforms aimed at rolling back labor laws to benefit the bosses are a signal that employers interpret as encouraging them to repress unionists.

The post office chose to fire a worker elected to union office who had put in to retire after management gave him masks made in 2009 and long past their expiration date. Managers accused him of deserting his post.

At the National Forest Office, a ranger was issued a warning for accompanying a co-worker to meet with management—part of his duties as a steward. Management’s justification for its decision? The tone of his voice!

The union representative at ArcelorMittal Construction-Caribbean was threatened with dismissal for having done his job as union representative. The general manager charged him with how his voice sounded when speaking with his supervisor, who always insulted him. Management there regularly exhibits its authoritarianism with respect to the staff. The general manager punishes any man or woman who refuses these degrading actions. Bit by bit the staff’s anger is growing. They are starting to get fed up with this so-called gentleman.

A worker at Martinique Catering (Servair) has put up with harassment by management for years. Even though the labor department, the labor minister, and the French labor court went against him, the manager kept doing it.

What all these workers have in common is that they are militants active with the General Confederation of Workers of Martinique (called CGTM by its initials in French). But they’re not the only ones.

This is the behavior of bosses who feel they are protected. When called on to act, government authorities don’t rush to do anything. But nothing says the workers will accept to be targets and to suffer.