ANI Passes in National Assembly Regardless of Nationwide Protests

Photo: Eleni Zaras

“Against crisis and salary austerity, we fight for social progress.”
Photo: Eleni Zaras

Members of the Confédération Générale du Travail, (CGT) Solidaires, and Parti Communiste Français (PCF) protested in Paris and across France today in opposition to the Accord National Interprofessionnel (ANI – National Interprofessional Agreement) labor reform bill. While these labor unions urged parliament members to vote against the b

ill, 250 out of 276 officials in the National Assembly voted in favor today.  It will now be passed to the Senate for review.

This agreement was initially reached and signed January 11, 2013 by three other labor unions CFDT, CFE-CGC, CFTC, and employer unions, MEDEF, CGPME, and UPA. However, those labor groups represent a minority of the employee unions.

In Paris, the demonstrators started this afternoon and continued throughout the rainy evening.  By Place des Invalides, people marched proudly to loud music and socialized with kebabs and drinks offered along the sidelines, yet the event was not to be taken lightly.  Police guarded side streets while a few protesters wielded fire flares. Signs pleaded, “Do not vote. This reform is unjust” and “The ANI: The right was dreaming of it, the PS is doing it. Treason!”

The protest, while not heavily attended, exhibited an attitude of solidarity among leftist groups to prevent the changes.

The proposed bill is supposed to “give companies the flexibility to respond effectively to cyclical fluctuations and increase employment”, as the preamble reads, but as a result, could threaten employees’ own negotiating abilities that they have already fought to gain.  One protestor in Paris bearing a CGT flag remarked that if these changes pass into law they will “destroy relations between employers and workers.”

Another attendee explained that it is not a protest against the right wing, per se, but rather represents the unions’ hopes to appeal to their left-wing members of parliament at a time when they are dissatisfied with their “so-called left-wing government.”

Complaints revolved around dissatisfaction with the actions of the current government as well as the weight that the other unions have been able to pull, with assertions that “MEDEF (Movement of the Enterprises of France) should not make the law.”

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