Monday, December 29, 2014

Solidarity! Defend the Workers of Guadeloupe being repressed by France

Urgent Appeal from General Union of Workers of Guadeloupe (UGTG); Your Support Is Needed to Drop All Charges Against UGTG Leader Charly Lendo!  
29 December 2014

To the workers’ and democratic organizations the world over,
To the International Committee Against Repression (CICR):
We are a few days from 2015, so please allow me, on behalf of the General Union of Workers of Guadeloupe (UGTG), to present to you our best wishes for successful struggles in the new year against oppression, domination, injustice and repression -- with the unity and solidarity of workers and peoples.
Worldwide, workers and peoples are suffering -- but at the same time they are fighting to defend their fundamental freedoms. They must, in turn, face fierce repression that particularly affects union activists who refuse to kowtow to the dictates of the State and the employers.
This is the case in Guadeloupe, where UGTG activists continue to fight against the political, economic, social and cultural domination and have to confront the Hollande government that is pursuing the same repressive policies as his predecessor.
Yes, the UGTG has chosen to fight for the construction of another Guadeloupe – one rid of capitalist and colonialist domination. In this sense, it is first in line to oppose the undermining of rights, freedoms and social guarantees.
It is in this context that our comrade Charly LENDO has been summoned before the Criminal Court of Pointe-à-Pitre on Tuesday, 20 January 2015.
Through this new trial, the aimed pursued by the public powers and management is to silence and terrorize union activists to better strip the workers and people of Guadeloupe of their rights and conquests.
Charly LENDO, former Deputy Secretary General of the UGTG, has been charged with indirect involuntary manslaughter. He is being held responsible for the accidental death of a young motorcyclist that occurred in February 2009 as part of the mobilization of the LKP. The aim is to criminalize trade union activity and to demonize those who struggle. Things must be stated clearly: They want to silence the UGTG by any means.
Ever since the LKP movement of 2009, more than 100 UGTG union activists have been summoned before the courts for no other reason than they were exercising their union mandate. In relation to the employed population of France, this would correspond to 15,000 union activists summoned to appear before the courts. Even lawyers defending trade unionists have been pressured to prevent them from exercising their profession.
Through Charly LENDO it is the entire UGTG that is being targeted. The aim of the powers-that-be is criminalize and demonize trade union activity. What is under assault is the right of every person to raise demands and to organize and fight for those demands. What are threatened are our very basic trade union freedoms.
In Guadeloupe, the employers, supported by the State, are attacking the social gains of the workers and the broad masses. They are undermining social gains and trade union representation, as such. They are trampling on the Sunday day of rest and the regulation of night work. They are refusing to negotiate by professional branch. They are undermining the minimum wage, the 35-hour workweek, and our public holidays -- all in the name of economic growth.
In fact, they are pursuing this course to destroy all the regulations that protect workers -- especially the most vulnerable, on behalf of the almighty profits, in the name of the laws of the “free market.”
We will not let them get away with it. We are resisting. We are standing up for our rights, and we know that we are not alone. If the French government and employers believe we are tired and isolated, they are sadly mistaken.
The many statements of support that you have sent to us, and the main letters that you have addressed to the French government demanding justice for our members, encourage us to continue the struggle for the defense of fundamental freedoms. There are dozens of trade union organizations, representing tens of thousands of workers all around the world, who have expressed their solidarity by demanding of the French government that it drop all charges against Charly LENDO.
On 14 January 2015, a solidarity rally to demand that all charges be dropped against Charly LENDO and that all anti-union repression be stopped immediately will be held at the Labour Exchange (Bourse du Travail) in Paris, at the initiative of the International Committee Against Repression (CICR, in its French acronym). Two leaders of the UGTG -- Maite HUBERT and Ruddy TESSIER -- will participate alongside French union leaders and activists of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples (ILC).
We cannot stress this enough: The trial on 20 January 2015 is an attempt by the employers and the State to muzzle dissent and to terrorize union activists to better strip the workers and people of Guadeloupe of their rights.
We are thus appealing for your support and solidarity in the name of working class solidarity, in the name of democracy, and on behalf of the workers in Guadeloupe and their unions, which are fighting for their legitimate demands and rights.
We know that we can count on your support and solidarity, in the manner that you consider most appropriate, so that we can obtain the dropping of all charges against Charly LENDO and so that we can put a halt to anti-union repression in Guadeloupe.

Long live the solidarity of workers and peoples! Long live international solidarity!
Please accept, dear comrades and friends, our militant greetings.
Secretary General, UGTG

Please send your messages of protest to:
Madame Christiane TAUBIRA
Minister of justice of France
13 Place VENDOME
75042 PARIS Cedex 01
Fax: 0144776000

Please send a copy of your protest and solidarity messages to:
UGTG / General Union of Workers of Guadeloupe
1, Rue Paul LACAVE
Fax: 0590890870

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