French unions resist after Muslims are sacked

Islamophobia isn’t just taking place in Britain. Authorities in France have withdrawn the security clearances for 40 mainly Muslim workers at the Paris airport of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle, one of Europe’s busiest airports. The police prefecture of Seine-Saint-Denis, linked to the interior ministry, withdrew the clearances, claiming that the workers could become involved in terrorist activity.

Serge Nybelene, the general secretary of the airport CGT union branch, spoke to Socialist Worker about the cases. He said, “The prefecture says that there is a direct or indirect connection with radical Islamic groups. But in their letters the employees concerned received no reason for their security clearances being taken away.

“We are used to having security clearances withdrawn for meaningless reasons. But in this case the prefect doesn’t even have to justify his decision. He says that the interviewee didn’t prove that he wouldn’t be susceptible to becoming dangerous in the future. So it is for the accused to prove his innocence and not the accuser to prove the person is guilty! The focus is on Muslim workers because we are coming up to an election.”

As Socialist Worker went to press, workers at the airport were meeting to discuss a proposed strike over the withdrawal of security passes. Serge said, “The CGT has brought two cases to court in order to stop what’s happening. We are talking to a group of MPs to call for a debate on the question. We have also called on our members at the airport to debate mass action.”

Socialist Worker, 11 November 2006