Goodyear, Air France workers criminalised – An appeal for International Solidarity

On January 12th, eight former employees of Goodyear, including five elected members of the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT, one of the largest trade union confederations in France), were sentenced to two years in prison, of which at least 9 months must be served.

Officially, this sentence was meant to punish their participation in the 30-hour "kidnapping" of two Goodyear executives (CEOs) in January 2014. After seven years of fighting against the closure of their factory in Amiens, the workers finally challenged the silence of a management that had refused to respond to their demands. By forcing the two CEOs to stay in the factory, workers sought to finally have their voices heard. The two executives were not mistreated; they could make phone calls, and they were given food and drink.

The factory closed. More than 1100 workers lost their jobs. Most are still unemployed to this day. Since the closure of the site, there have not only been 12 deaths among those who were fired (3 suicides and 9 for illness), but also divorces, broken families and homes sold. It is against the background of this social catastrophe that the Goodyear workers fought courageously. And it is obviously because of the fact that they had the audacity to fight back and resist that they were sentenced on January 12th at the behest of the public prosecutor (that is to say, a representative of the state).

This was a political decision, carried out and defended by the highest echelons of government, the objective being very clear: to intimidate the entire French working class and make it understand that it must submit passively to attacks from employers – or face very severe penalties. Never before, under the Fifth Republic, have trade unionists been sentenced to prison for acts of resistance.

Last October, the Hollande Government had labelled the Air France workers fighting against the proposed elimination of 2,900 positions in their company as "thugs". Five Air France employees were fired and will be tried in court on May 27th on charges stemming from the infamous shirt-ripping protest. Here too the government and employers want to teach a lesson to the French working class. They want to inflict a heavy blow against those who dare to rebel against social regression, knowing full well that this regression will only continue and intensify. The crisis of capitalism leaves no alternative to the ruling class and its lackey "socialists" in government. New offensives are being prepared against the living and working conditions of the working masses. This is the fundamental reasoning behind the sentencing of January 12th.

The state of emergency and reactionary propaganda that the mass media has been pumping out since the events of November 13th has created a climate which the government deems favourable to criminalize trade union activity. The response of the workers’ movement must be massive and determined. The success of the CGT-Goodyear petition has shown the potential that exists.

The comrades at Goodyear have announced that they are free until the new trial. We must continue the mobilization, breakthrough the media blackout and explain the facts and their political significance in all workplaces and neighbourhoods. The high school youth must be mobilized. Absolutely no punishment for the Air France five or the Goodyear eight! Trade Unionism is not a criminal activity!

International solidarity must be organized. The International Marxist Tendency – which goes by the name of Revolution in France – is organizing a petition calling for international solidarity. We are calling for all workers, trade unionists and left-wing activists to sign this petition. Below you will find a list of the first signatories. Where we are present, the IMT will make known as widely as possible the situation of the comrades from Air France and Goodyear. We call on youth and workers around the world to sign this petition, demanding that the French government abandon the punishment visited on our persecuted comrades.

Please sign the petition by sending an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Initial signatures

Belgium (all in Personal Capacity):

Paulette Vermeersch, member executive ACOD LRB Antwerpen

André Gonsalis, former chairman ACOD Veurne, member ACOD Onderwijs

Roland Vanderbeke:  activistACOD Oostende

Filip Staes, member ABVV Metaal Antwerpen

Annick Hebrant, vice-president CGSP ALR St-Gillis

Rita Lemmens,  member BTB Antwerpen

Yves Brusseel, vice-president ACOD VDAB

Erik Demeester, member BBTK Brussel

Patrick Hens, Handen Af van Venezuela

Jelle Spruyt, social worker

Rob van Raemdonck, member ACOD Spoor

Claire Miroir, Vonk

Roger Collin, airport worker Brussel

Franca Camurato Carfagno, member CNE

Vincent Geraci, member Centrale Générale FGTB

Kyle Michiels, Marxist Students VUB

Brasil:

Factory council of occupied factory Flaskô, Sumaré/SP

Britain (all in Personal Capacity):

Dave Walkden Branch Chair Gateshead UNISON

Terry McPartlan Vice Chair Gateshead UNISON

Anne Marie Forster Shop Steward Gateshead UNISON

Amanda Martin Assistant Secretary Tees, Wear and Esk Valley Health UNISON

Steve Brown Chair South East Northumberland Trades Council

Rob Turnbull Tyne and Wear Unite Community Branch

Lee Singh Gill NBS Unite Rep

Tracie Warren North Tyneside UNISON

Paul Anderson Glew NTW UNISON Health

Gordon Thompson Northumberland UNISON

Ronnie Mason President Ripon and Thirsk GMB

Dr Tomasz Piersconek BMA North East Doctors Regional Committee

Neil Waite PCS Rtd

Jim Moffett Sunderland UNISON Rtd

Ron Graves, President Peterborough Trades Council

David Niven, Branch sec PCS, Carlisle

Chris Osborne, Health and Safety officer CWU, London 7

Rob Sewell, Vice chair, NUJ London Central

Steve Jones, Branch Committee, NUJ, London Central

Sylvia Courtnage, Branch Committee, NUJ Book branch

Gray Allan, Branch sec, UNISON, Falkirk, Regional & National Labour Link Committee

Darrall Cozens, President Coventry Trades Council

David Rowe, assistant secretary, CWU Cardiff

Greece:

Stamatis Karagiannopoulos, member of Popular Unity Political Council

Panayiotis Kolovos, member of Athens Bar Association (lawyers' union)

Gina Palaiologou, member of Athens Bar Association (lawyers' union)

Thodoris Papadopoulos, member of Pireus Teachers' Union

Giannis Dimou, member of Ambulance Drivers' Union

Italy:

Mario Iavazzi (Direttivo nazionale Cgil)

Paolo Brini (Comitato centrale Fiom-Cgil)

Diana Terzi (Direttivo nazionale Flc-Cgil)

Paolo Grassi (Direttivo nazionale Nidil-Cgil)

Davide Bacchelli (Rsu Fiom, Ima Bologna)

Orlando Maviglia (Rsu Fiom-Cgil Minarelli Bologna)

Roberta Serego (Rsu Fiom-Cgil Minarelli Bologna)

Giampietro Montanari (Fiom-Cgil Rsu Cesab Bologna)

Domenico Minadeo (Direttivo Fiom-Cgil Bologna)

Giuseppe Violante (Rsu Fiom-Cgil Maserati Modena)

Matteo Parlati (Rsa Fiom-Cgil Ferrari Modena)

Luca Paltrinieri (Direttivo Fiom-Cgil Modena)

Piero Ficiarà (Direttivo Fiom-Cgil Modena)

Daniele Prampolini (Direttivo Fiom-Cgil Modena)

Davide Ledda (Rsu Fiom-Cgil Cft Parma)

Daniele Chiavelli (Direttivo Flc-Cgil Mantova)

Giamplacido Ottaviano (Fiom-Cgil, Rsu Bonfiglioli Bologna)

Matteo Elia (Rsu Fiom-Cgil Lucchini Lecco)

Ivano Mantovani (Rsu Fiom-Cgil Fonderie Torbole Brescia)

Giorgio Giorgini (Direttivo Marche Fiom-Cgil)

Ilic Vezzosi (Direttivo Cgil Reggio Emilia)

Luca Ibattici (Rsu Fiom-Cgil Spal Reggio Emilia)

Marco Mussini (Direttivo Fiom-Cgil Reggio Emilia)

Vincenzo Chianese (Direttivo Fiom-Cgil Napoli)

Domenico Loffredo (Direttivo Fiom-Cgil Napoli)

Davide Tognoni (Rsu FP-Cgil Comune di Rolo Reggio Emilia)

Simona Leri (Rsa Filcams-Cgil Coop Modena)

Irene Forno (Direttivo Nidil-Cgil Milano)

Antonio Forlano (Rsu Filt-Cgil Ups Milano)

Laura Parozzi (Rsu Ups Filt-Cgil Vimodorone-Milano)

Cinzia Crespi (Rsu Ups Filt-Cgil Vimodorone-Milano)

Barbara Lietti (Rsu FP-Cgil Ospedale Sacco-Milano)

Luca Pezza (Rsu Filctem-Cgil Michelin Milano)

Angelo Raimondi (Rsa-Filcams-Cgil Esselunga Corbetta Milano).

Mexico:

Comité de Lucha Estudiantil del Politécnico –Unión de Estudiantes Universitarios

La Izquierda Socialista, IMT-México

David Rodrigo García Colín Carrillo, Representante sindical SUTIEMS, Distrito Federal, Tlalpan I

Guillermo Rosas, Sindicato Independiente de Trabajadores - Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (SITUAM)

Laura Aldana Chávez, delegada del distrito 21 del Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena)

Blanca Paola Castillo Silva, Consejera estudiantil de la Escuela Superior de Enfermería y Obstetricia del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN)

Victoria Banda Martínez, Consejera estudiantil de la Vocacional 1 del IPN

Álvaro Soto Gómez, miembro de la Asamblea General Politécnica por la Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Mecánica y Eléctrica – Azcapotzalco

Guillermo Filiberto García Galán, Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (SME)

Armando González, Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas

Miguel Lara Curiel, Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas

Spain:

Jesús Martínez De Carlos, Sindicato de Sanidad CCOO Navarra

José María Martínez Berrueta, Sindicato de Correos CCOO Navarra

Carmen Máximo Torres, Delegada al Comité provincial del sindicato de enseñanza FETE-UGT Málaga

Valentín Pinilla González, Federación de Enseñanza de CCOO Málaga

Juan Cervera Sanz, CCOO Aeropuerto de Valencia- Enaire Valencia

Jesús Díaz de Durana, UGT de Euskadi Euskadi (País Vasco)

USA (all in Personal Capacity):

Sam Swartz, Service Employees International Union 1199 New York, NY

Tom Trottier, Organization of Staff Analysts, New York, NY

Zach Forbes, United Auto Workers 7902, New York, NY

Alfredo Peña, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 154, DC 37 (retired), New York, NY

Mark Rahman, Communications Workers of America 37002, New York, NY

John Peterson, Communications Workers of America 37002, New York, NY

Alex Gillis, Chicago & Midwest Regional Joint Board Workers United and F.O.U.R., Madison, WI

Matthew Wylie, National Education Association, PSEA-Western Region, Pittsburgh, PA

David May, National Association of Letter Carriers     5847, St. Louis, MO

Eric Fernandez, National Postal Mailhandlers Union 316, Seattle, WA