Health workers across France staged protests Thursday against conditions that have left them on the brink of collapse.
They organized rallies and marches to denounce the atrocious working conditions and staff shortages that exhausted and demoralized them.
Protesters in many major cities have called for an end to hospital closures, more staff for hospitals and nursing homes, and better pay.
In Nice, on the Mediterranean coast, the demonstrators carried a banner saying: “Recruit more. Train more. We are exhausted.
In Vaucluse, in the south of France, the demonstrator Sandrine told the newspaper France Bleu: “Before being the heroes, today we are the forgotten. None of us received the bonus that we were promised. “
“I didn’t sign up for this,” said Sophie, a nurse in Lyon. “We just can’t go on with the pressure and unpaid overtime.”
Christina told Le Parisien newspaper: “Between us, we call each other the invisible ones. “
In most places the steps were smaller than the previous days. This is in part because of the intense pressure as coronavirus cases soar. The government also has the right to requisition health workers and deny them leave.
In July, mass protests, strikes and a cohesive campaign forced the government to increase the salaries of health workers.
But many workers were angry that the amount granted was too small and that other crucial improvements were largely overlooked.
This feeling deepened.
An A&E technician from Avignon told Socialist Worker: “We just got through the first wave, and there were times when we were deciding who would live and who would die.
“Now the second wave is hitting and it feels like we haven’t learned anything.”
There is a feeling of deepening social crisis.
President Emmanuel Macron announced a curfew in Paris and eight other cities from Saturday.
The shutdown between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. will remain in effect for six weeks and will cover 20 million people.
This will undoubtedly lead to more crackdowns on working class people – especially blacks – that were seen during the first lockdown.
Macron knows there is deep anger in society. He was forced to make moves to account for the government’s inability to tackle the virus.
Police raided the homes of Health Minister Olivier Veran, former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and other officials on Thursday. The decision was part of an investigation into the government’s handling of the coronavirus.
Veran is one of many current and former ministers under investigation over their response to the coronavirus pandemic. The investigation follows complaints from Covid-19 victims that they have been too slow to act.
Prime Minister Jean Castex is also the subject of the investigation, as is Veran’s predecessor at the Ministry of Health, Agnes Buzyn. The home of Sibeth Ndiaye, a former government spokesperson, was also searched.
It would be as if Boris Johnson sent the cops to search the homes of Matt Hancock, Jeremy Hunt, Theresa May and Dominic Cummings.
Of course, this can lead to no action or real liability. Or it may be Macron’s decision to find a scapegoat for his own failures.
Macron also supports large companies that have nibbled on government aid but are now making massive layoffs.
A high-level battle for jobs has started at the Grandpuits oil refinery near Paris.
The bosses of Total announced its closure with the loss of 700 jobs. Workers at the factory, who have a long history of activism, staged a strike day on Tuesday to start resistance.
They barricaded the roads around the site and halted expeditions.
These are the types of struggles that we desperately need