The UGTG Appeal to
the International Democratic Movement of Workers
Dear comrades and friends,
The French colonial authority is getting ready to suppress the workers, youth, and people of Guadeloupe as well as their organizations.
In response to the call of 47 trade unions, political organizations, consumer associations, popular organizations, and cultural associations, a general strike began on 20 January 2009, expressing the general discontent of the masses of workers, who are sick and tired of the suffering they face.
Hence the demonstration bringing together more than 25,000 people in the streets of Pointe à Pitre (the main city of Guadeloupe). The platform of workers’ and people’s demands addressed to the employers and elected officials who represent the state includes:
- Immediate and substantial raises in wages, in minimum old-age pensions, and in minimum income support. Please be aware that, in Guadeloupe, over 100,000 people live below the poverty line, out of the population of about 450,000.
- The defense and creation of jobs, especially training for youth.
- The defense and development of production.
- The defense and enhancement of trade-union rights and freedoms.
- Lower rents.
The employers and elected officials, using the crisis as their excuse, have already demonstrated their intention not to meet these demands even before beginning the negotiations.
They want the workers to “be reasonable and get back to work.”
The employers are gearing up for a lockout, thinking that they can thus starve people, provoke confrontations, and ask the colonial authority to suppress us. For that purpose, several hundred forces of repression arrived in Guadeloupe a few days ago, armed to the teeth.
Dear colleagues and friends,
The specter of May 1967 is palpable, when the French state killed more than 100 Guadeloupeans following a construction workers’ strike, only to later grant a 25% wage increase against 2.5% demanded. The script is always the same: at that time, too, they demanded that striking workers be reasonable and return to work.
In the name of the rights of workers and the people of Guadeloupe to fight for their legitimate demands, we appeal for international solidarity
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La grève générale se poursuit en Guadeloupe
The original text of the appeal “l’appel de l’UGTG au mouvement ouvrier et démocratique international” was published on Bellaciao on 26 January 2009. Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.