Gathering of precarious workers on May 20, 2020 in front of Robert-Debré hospital in Paris.
Unsurprisingly, it is the most precarious workers who are suffering the economic consequences of the health crisis. If some do not find themselves without any mission, they nevertheless only land tiny contracts of one or two days. Thus, tens of thousands of temporary workers find themselves without income, forced to resort to food aid and seek help from their loved ones. Although the health crisis largely undermines the lives of these precarious workers, it is clear that “presence of activity” does not mean “absence of problem”.
While capitalism promises social existence through work, precarious workers do not see themselves given the same rights as a worker with a regular contract. The instability of work, hence the term precarious – closes many doors for a loan or the search for housing. Today most of the temporary workers are not getting enough food. Some only eat one meal a day and will also be the first victims of the unemployment insurance reform which will further reduce already very low incomes. It is a real declaration of war against the whole working class which only accesses a job in this way and which the union leadership leaves to the abandonment that they are more exploited and who embody a new generation of workers. precarious. Tomorrow without them there will be no more strikes in the industrial sectors without organizations to structure them.
The newspaper Rue89 Strasbourg unveils a series of testimonies from these precarious workers. In addition to the legitimate distress present in all these interviews, one of them particularly attracts because it points to the real usefulness of temporary work for companies. It is that of Fabienne Stoquert, who explains:
« Many factories operate permanently with temporary workers to fine-tune the number of employees, depending on the production required, without having to lay off. In this optimization logic, we are adjustment variables. Our status is interesting precisely because it is easy to get rid of us. Just do not renew and no longer offer temporary contracts, no need for dismissal. In sectors with a standstill or declining activity, the crisis highlights this reality. »
Industry sectors employ more than 44% of temporary workers. In the automobile assembly lines operate with 60 to 70% of temporary workers and with each drop in production or health crisis, they are fired like kleenex without there being a layoff plan.
The existence of such a form of so-called “precarious” work is the result of a practical observation of capitalism. The mass of unemployed ensures by its existence for the capitalist a competition between the employees on the labor market. A competition that has all the interest in being tough since it allows two things: use the threat of dismissal to intimidate workers with regular contracts; create forms of work without a long-term commitment (CDD, interim…) to both adjust the wage bill to the needs of the company and prevent workers’ union organization. Interim thus appears to be an extremely successful version of this last point.
In addition to making the life of workers extremely complicated, temporary work largely favors companies to channel and control the working population, while ensuring an adjustment variable in human capital without any compensation. Precarious work is a capitalistic aberration which must also be fought. However, we must not be satisfied with fragmenting the criticism: it is through unity between workers, whether they are precarious or not, that a viable perspective of struggle can appear. Unemployment and what it causes affects the majority of the population, in 2020 with the covid crisis: the increase was 7.5% or 265,400 people. It thus appears necessary to organize and fight so that all jobs are on permanent contracts and allocated through a fair sharing of work; coupled with a total redistribution of wealth today held by an idle minority.
The question of the precariousness of a large part of the class raises the question of the organization of the unemployed and precarious. It is a matter of giving them perspectives, in reverse of what the leaderships of the workers’ movement do not do, far too suited to social dialogue and class collaboration. If it is necessary to campaign for all workers to have access to a CDI, it is for the moment to be at the initiative of collective of temporary workers, unemployed and precarious against unemployment insurance in link with all sectors in struggle such as culture and student youth who are suffering from crisis, poverty and unemployment.