France: Call to support striking migrant workers

14.Oct.02 - We call all militant, political, unionist, associative groups and networks to demonstrate together their solidarity with the workers of Arcade on strike for 7 months.

The strikers are a group of some thirty African women who work in various hotels of ACCOR corporation (hotels Ibis, Novotel, Sofitel, Mercure; Frantour, Formule 1 and a few others) in the region of Paris. Their boss is Arcade a subcontractor to ACCOR. They protest against the very hard working conditions which are imposed on them and especially against the arbitrarily decided rythm of work which has as consequences many unpaid extra-hours and often serious health problems. Moreover they ask the rejection of the firing and other penalties for their action during the strike of which several of them are victims.

It is because a wide solidarity organized around them, first in the framework of SUD (the union of which they are members), then in a supporting comittee which extends beyond the limits of unions. Actions on the ACCOR hotels in Paris have taken place during the whole summer. Negociations are under way but have led to nothing so far. It seems that there are discussions now within ACCOR between those who want to get rid of the conflict and those who think that nothing should be conceded. That is why we think that it becomes necessary to increase the pressure on ACCOR by extending the solidarity actions to all of France, and beyond if possible. It is in view of this that we call on you to take part in a

national initiative of action against ACCOR corporation during the week of October 2Oth to 27th

As you know, there are many reasons to expose ACCOR corporation:
- a part of the Ibis hotel of the Roissy airport has been rented by the French state as a "zone d'attente" where foreigners are locked up pending their deportation; other ACCOR hotels in Orly and near Lyon still serve the same purpose;
- a subsidiary of ACCOR built the new "zone d'attente" ZAPI 3 in Roissy;
- another subsidiary, Carlson Wagons-Lits makes the reservations for foreigners to be deported and he cops who accompany them;
- it organizes in its hotels the congresses of the extreme right parties FN and MNR.

But these outrageous practices should not make us forget the day to day reality of the working relations: behind the showcase of a "clean" enterprise which it tries to promote, ACCOR corporation imposes everyday, through subcontracting, very hard working conditions to immigrant workers whose need to work at any cost it exploits. It is a way to transport the Third World here when you cannot delocalize your enterprise to the Third World.

If the charwomen of Arcade, who have had the courage to resist for so long a time, see their demands fulfilled, this will not only benefit to the 800 employees of Arcade who work in ACCOR hotels, it will have positive results for all the workers of the cleaning industry. Moreover, an important mark will be recorded against the practice of subcontracting which allows everywhere the corporations which use it to impose lower wages and a worsening of working conditions while getting themselves out of any responsibiity with respect to the law and dividing into many small groups the collectivity of the workers. So in this struggle is also at stake the battle against this modern weapon which the bosses use more and more frequently and more and more widely to break the workers' resistance.

What to do during these action days?

Leaflet in front of or in the hotels, unroll banners, inform the clients and goers by about the reasons of the strike, call to boycott ACCOR desorganize the reservation service of the hotels (technical details to follow), ask people to sign postcards or petitions to support the strike. every sort of action which is able to make the strike known and expose the practices of the corporation are useful. It is up to you to see the concrete possibilities in view of the place where you are and the force you can rely on. The Parisian solidarity collective will organize one or several actions in the Paris region.

We can give you more informations, leaflets in several languages, a press record, postcards of protest, a petition, to be asked for at one of the following addresses:
ADC, 35-37 av. de la Resistance, F93100 Montreuil, France

Keep us informed of the initiatives you plan and then of the result. We'll try to make an evaluation on the basis of what you have sent us.