GUADELOUPE Appeal launched by the UGTG

Pointe-à-Pître, 20 March 2017

To: All Working Class and Democratic Organisations

Dear Comrades,

Last October, Eli Domota, General Secretary of the UGTG, was summoned to the Pointe-à-Pître (Guadeloupe) gendarmerie (National Police headquarters) where he was notified that charges of “participating in a group assault” had been filed against him by a managing officer of BMW, a firm owned by the president of the Guadeloupe MEDEF (Employers’ Association).

The trial is to take place on May 31 2017 in Pointe-à-Pître.

Once again, our union is being attacked in order to try to silence us. Despite the fierce repression orchestrated in reprisal of the valiant 2009 44-day general strike, they have failed to cower us.

Once again, this move shows a clear determination to criminalise trade union action and demonize the UGTG. These attacks have been launched right at the same time when the UGTG:

• Has denounced the firing by BMW of practically all the members of our union branch and of our local delegate for using his mobile phone, for addressing his superior in Creole language and for taking too long to fulfil his professional duties – and this after 13 years of seniority in the firm, and furthermore without any approval by labour inspection. As of today, no court action has been under- taken, despite the labour inspection’s report;

• Has denounced the famous “youth employment pact” that was jointly endorsed by the govern- ment, the territorial authorities and the Guadeloupe MEDEF, and which combined total exemption from employers’ contributions and funding wages with exempting the bosses from having to contribute any payment in return;

• Has denounced the MEDEF refusal to negotiate with trade union branches in Guadeloupe, especially on wages;

• Has reasserted the union’s commitment to free, sovereign and independent Guadeloupe, free from capitalist and colonialist domination.

These attacks also come right at the same time as the state and the employers, hand in hand, are launching an offensive meant to co-opt trade unions into the process of doing away with social gains through the famous “renewing of social dialogue” that the UGTG has refused to take part in.

The state and bosses wish to implement their reforms without any discussion. These reforms are to be achieved thorough the overhauling of collective agreements, the trampling of our labour laws – particularly the right to strike – and the destruction of our fundamental liberties, all in the same move, whilst refusing any branch negotiation. All of this is to be in the name of the hackneyed notion of social peace and the competitiveness of enterprises.

The UGTG reaffirms that fighting for independent trade unions means defending workers, opposing lay-offs and the abomination that the workers are the victims of. It means fighting to defend the guarantees and rights of the masses.

The UGTG reaffirms that the labour-capital pact does not mean a lightening of the social setbacks imposed by the state and the employers, but the destruction of independent trade unionism for the class struggle and social confrontation.

The UGTG reasserts that, via these charges, it is trade union liberties and the right of workers to independent trade unions that are being targeted.

This is why we ask you to inform all those who fight to defend trade union liberties and especially the activists of the labour and democratic movement.

In the name of working class solidarity, in the name of democracy, of the right of the workers of Guadeloupe and of the trade unions, fighting for their legitimate demands, we call on you to give us support and show your solidarity in whatever form you will consider useful, especially by calling on Mr Jean-Jacques URVOAS – Garde des Sceaux – Ministre de la justice – 13 Place Vendôme – 75042 Paris, and please send a copy to UGTG.

Dear comrades, we send our greetings in solidarity.

On behalf of the UGTG,

Maïte HUBERT-M’TOUMO,

Deputy General Secretary of UGTG.

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