July 1, 2022

In Guadeloupe, the regional council occupied for twenty-four hours and a social crisis at an impasse

The Christmas truce will have been welcome for the Guadeloupeans. For a weekend, they allowed themselves to forget their worries. How long will this parenthesis last? Some people fear that the interlude will be brief. Barely two days before Christmas, this West Indian department was experiencing a new twist in the serious social and health crisis that it has been going through for six weeks already.

Thursday, December 23, about 400 trade unionists opposed to the vaccination obligation for caregivers burst into the building of the regional council, in Basse-Terre. After forcing access, they entered the hemicycle, where elected officials had met for a plenary session. These, warned of the intrusion of the collective of trade unions in the building, had dispatched the deliberations and started to evacuate the room before the arrival of the demonstrators.

“There was a plenary, and not a single point on the agenda concerned the situation of social and health crisis in Guadeloupe. For us, this is unacceptable, while workers have been suspended and have not had a salary for two months ”, denounces Maïté Hubert M’Toumo, general secretary of the powerful General Union of Guadeloupe workers. “We entered by force, so as to impose our presence and the opening of a discussion”, she continues.

An improvised “popular plenary”

At the end of the afternoon, around ten representatives of the various trade union organizations were received by the president (La République en Marche) of the region, Ary Chalus. “We demanded that there be very quickly a clear and public position on his part”, insists the unionist, who reproaches the elected “Not to act and to contradict yourself” on the issue of compulsory vaccination and suspensions of unvaccinated caregivers.

Despite this spectacular intrusion and the damage caused, Ary Chalus adopted, during a telephone interview, an impassive tone and assured that his exchanges with the trade unionists took place in peace. “We met for two hours and they told me about the health problems in Guadeloupe and the problems of caregivers in all sectors”, relate-t-il. “I told them that I would raise their expectations to the state level”, assures the president, comfortably reelected on June 27 during the last regional ballot.

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Determined, some of the trade unionists spent the night inside the building. On Friday, the members of the collective improvised in the hemicycle a “Popular plenary”, during which suspended workers testified about their difficulties. Then at the beginning of the afternoon, after a twenty-four hour siege of the regional hotel, the demonstrators left the scene. The Christmas truce could begin.

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