Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Amazon Workers in France Wage Unprecedented Strike For Wage Increases

Fighting for wage increases that at least keep pace with inflation, workers at Amazon in France are expanding their strike across the country.

Gaëtan Gracia

April 7, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Amazon employees on strike outside a warehouse in Saran, France, last month. Mourad Guichard/Reuters

A strike by Amazon workers in France resumed in earnest on Tuesday, April 5, and extended to all Amazon sites across the country. “Management offered us a 3 percent increase, but we want at least 5 percent,” Antoine Delorme of the CGT Amazon trade union at Châlons-sur-Saône told Révolution Permanente.

This is happening in the context of compulsory annual negotiations (NAO) under France’s Labor Code. Management’s proposal of a wage increase that is less than inflation has provoked an unprecedented strike movement at every Amazon France facility.

Some sites had already gone on strike last week after initial NAO meetings, at which the bosses offered 2 percent. At the first post-strike negotiations, they upped the offer to 3 percent. The five unions involved (CGT, Sud, CFDT, CAT, CFE-CGC) said it wasn’t enough, and called a new strike — and this time, all eight sites went out at the same time. At some sites, barricades were erected to slow down trucks from entering and exiting.

“This is completely unprecedented at Amazon,” said Delorme. “It’s very important that we’re mobilizing together, because when a site is blocked, management shifts deliveries to come from another site. So, if we all respond together, we’re stronger.”

Alain Jeault, CGT central union delegate, says there are 1,200 strikers in all.

Many of these workers are on strike for the first time. At the Châlons site, some 200 full-time employees are striking, out of 700 — a significant number given the obstacles and difficulties of striking against this type of company.

At some sites, it was the workers themselves who demanded of their elected union representative that a strike be called. Delorme said that when the strike by one team had stopped, “workers from another team asked us to start the strike again!”

Compare Amazon’s enormous $33 billion in profits last year with the proposed increases, and you can understand why strikers want to fight. And the strikes are likely to continue, Delorme said, because management refuses to go up to 5 percent.

“Whatever happens,” he said, “this is an issue that affects everyone today — you in your company, me in mine, and everywhere. And even in other countries. In fact, I want to salute our colleagues in the United States who created the first Amazon union in the country! What they’ve done is a victory for all workers!”

With spiraling inflation and wages that are not keeping up, the wage issue is becoming central in France, and could converge with other struggles. If links are created, this could open up new perspectives for the labor movement, which has suffered through the lethargy of the trade union leaderships over the last two years.

First published in French on April 5 in Révolution Permanente.

Translation by Scott Cooper

Facebook Twitter Share

Europe

Members of Trotskyist organization Revolution Permanente at a protest.

Trotskyists in France Are Reconstituting a Fighting Revolutionary Left. There Are Important Lessons for the United States

The Far Left in France, which has grown complacent at best and has crossed the class line at worst, is being resuscitated with revolutionary politics thanks to the efforts of Révolution Permanente — which include launching a new organization. There are lessons for the United States in what has happened in France and in the opportunities to come.

Scott Cooper

June 23, 2022

United Kingdom: Is a Summer of Discontent on the Horizon?

Workers in the UK are bearing the brunt of the government’s response to rising inflation and slow economic growth. But they’re fighting back, with many talking about a “summer of discontent”.

Alejandra Ríos

June 22, 2022

French Election Results Point to a Political Crisis and Tremendous Instability

Everyone expected a defeat for President Macron in the second round of France’s elections for the National Assembly on June 19, but the results were far worse than any forecast. This opens a major political crisis and begins an explosive five-year term for the president.

French Trotskyist worker Anasse Kazib holds a megaphone and speaks to a crowd at a protest

Call: ‘For the Building of a New Revolutionary Organization in France’

Delegates at a national conference held in France on June 4 and 5 concluded their discussions and deliberations by issuing this call for the building of a new revolutionary organization in the country. The new organization aims to take up the mantle of the Far Left that has been undermined by a liquidationist perspective and a refusal to engage in the struggles of the working class and most oppressed in France.

MOST RECENT

A Swiss Trotskyist group marching in the 1950s

The Strange Story of Trotskyism in the Alps

A new book in German tells the story of the Trotskyist movement in Switzerland from 1945 to 1968. It includes the strangest case of infiltration since the founding of the Fourth International.

Nathaniel Flakin

June 23, 2022
Indigenous demonstrators gather around burning road blockades while marching towards the capital Quito after a week of protests against the economic and social policies of President Guillermo Lasso, in Machachi, Ecuador June 20, 2022.

Ecuador’s Indigenous People Are Fighting Neoliberal Austerity in the Streets

The indigenous protests in Ecuador are bringing thousands of people to the streets to protest austerity.

Margarita Valencia

June 23, 2022
Several workers hugging in front of a Chipotle Store

The Unionization Wave Continues: Workers In Maine Have Organized the First Chipotle Store in the Country

Workers at an Augusta, Maine Chipotle have formed an independent union: Chipotle United. This is a clear indication that the unionization wave that started with Starbucks and Amazon is only growing stronger.

James Dennis Hoff

June 22, 2022

You Can’t ‘Green’ the Military (You Have to Fight It)

The armed forces of state violence are "going green", but they're no friends of the environment. We need an internationalist climate movement that's strongly opposed to militaries, police, prisons, and borders.

B.C. Daurelle

June 22, 2022