Francis Gomez, President of the Liège antenna of the FGTB (a union), responded to the way the union was treated following events during last Monday’s protest. The Liège-Huy-Waremme FGTB submitted an assessment of these events one week on.
“Accusing a union which has the best of intentions is hard to take,” admits Francis Gomez, alluding to the legal proceedings started by the CHC Liège (a hospital network) after a patient died on the day of the strike, and to certain articles published in the press. The union president is aware of the issue. “If the media are focussing more on the way we protest than on what we are protesting against, then we need to rethink our action,” he explains. “This is why we are considering new avenues.”
The assessment of the October 19th strike action by FGTB Liège-Huy-Waremme representatives raised another issue, one which is more positive from the union’s point of view. “We meant to affect the economic process and we achieved that objective,” Francis Gomez said approvingly. “Large companies were at a standstill and the public sector was seriously disrupted in Liège last Monday. We must continue to aim our actions against those who wholeheartedly support the current government.”
As for the latest political debate on the “right to strike”, FGTB insisted this must remain a “fundamental” right and cannot be separated from the “right to work.” Geoffroy Goblet, President of the Central Office of the Liège FGTB, suggested they “should be talking about the fact that SME employees cannot strike for fear of retaliation by their employers.” FGTB maintains that calling the right to strike into question would be “grossly shocking and provocative,” resulting inevitably in “very energetic” repercussions.