Click to change font size
LÉON CRÉMIEUX is a French airline technician, unionist, and political activist. He is membership of Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques (SUD) Union and involved in the national leadership of the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA).
French Workers Face the Crisis
|Summer 2009||Vol:XII-3||Whole #:|
TRANSLATED BY MICHAEL SEITZ GUADELOUPE HAS MADE AN IMPRESSION . . . but not yet on the French union movement. The capitalist crisis affects France as it does all industrialized countries.The ingredients are the same:
- The financial crisis rocks the banks, even though the French banks have been generally less affected than those in the United States and in England, having lost a total of “only” 19 billion euros due to subprime mortgages, and even realizing juicy profits in 2008, about 10 billion for the sector. In addition to which AIG, thanks to its federal bailouts, has reimbursed the French banking sector to the tune of some 20 billion.
- Recession, here again, is less than the European Union average, but nonetheless 1.8 percent predicted for 2009. The most heavily affected sectors are real estate and construction, which together are likely to lose 30,000 jobs this year, while they had gained 350,000 jobs over the past ten years. As for the automobile industry, there are over a million jobs in this sector. The sales of the French auto makers (PSA and Renault) were down 8 percent in 2008. In this sector 202,000 full-time equivalent jobs had already been lost during the years 2004-2007. Since then the French auto makers have been producing the majority of their cars outside of France, reserving for the French plants the top of the line vehicles, the first to feel the effects of the crisis. In the electronics sector, equipment expenditures and intermediary goods have also been hit. All in all, the crisis has accelerated a process going on over the last thirty years: the contraction of industrial jobs in France from 5.5 million to 3.5 million.