The 8th of March should be the occasion to bring out the best of traditions of the organised workers’ movement. With the Campaign ROSA, we organise marches against sexism and austerity and participate in different, mainly trade union, actions, for demands that mean real progress for the emancipation of working class women.
Trade union shop stewards and members of LSP/PSL proposed their workplace delegations to take part in the 8th of March activities and to put this date again on the agenda as a day of struggle, not as a day to celebrate woman!
In some workplaces, discussions are organised in the local trade union premises about the struggle against women’s oppression with collective meeting points to take part in the 8 March demonstrations later in the day. Campaign ROSA is invited to speak at the walk-outs organised by workers in two universities in Gent and Brussels, as is the case at the Brussels Brugmann hospital, where trade union activists of the local socialist trade union CGSP-ALR (Brussels public services union) is waging an offensive struggle for better working conditions and for a 10% wage rise for a sector with a majority female workforce. We are also mobilising for a special trade union gathering supported by the 3 main trade unions, during midday with our party paper with as its central pages a dossier on Intrnational Women’s Day.
In our speeches we will defend the need for a minimum wage of 14€/hour and a minimum pension allocation of 1500€ net/month, but also for the individualisation and re-evaluation of the social allocations above the poverty line, for the economic independance of women and a struggle against the general spread of precarious jobs. We also need a collective reduction of the working week to 30h/week, without loss of pay, and with compensating recruitment to bring down the pressure of work, to be able to combine work, family and free time.
We insist on the need for a serious refinancing of public education, healthcare and the social sector, the building of social housing and public childcare to fight the ‘double day’ tasks . We also defend the need for non hetero normative sex education that discusses issues such as consent, gender, as well as full abortion rights and free access to contraception. We celebrate and remember that every advance gained in the past for women’s rights were fought for by the combined force of the workers’ movement and the central role the trade unions have to play in these struggles.
We are also participating in an action at the Iranian Embassy, 40 years after the Islamic revolution. In our speeches and political material we will defend the right of women to have control over their own body, as well as their right to organise themselves at their workplace – what is not the case at the moment in Iran. We will accentuate that the emancipation of women in Iran, just like the emancipation of the whole of the working class, can only be realised by the fight for a socialist society, for which class unity is vital.
The high point of this day of struggle will be the demonstrations against sexism and austerity that we are organising in the early evening. In Brussels, we organise this demonstration together with the “World Women Marches”. In Gent, we organise this demonstration with ROSA. This year also in Kortrijk, our young Rosa group is organising its own march on Saturday the 9th March. We have campaigned amongst the youth in the universities, the secondary schools and in the climate movement. In this movement a lot of youth make the link between the struggle against sexism and for our climate. We will point to this link at the climate demonstrations that take place the day before International Women’s Day and explain that the major responsibility for oppression, sexism, austerity and climate/environmental deregulation and climate change lies with capitalism and that we need a struggle for a socialist change.
We have also campaigned in the workplaces. Two big trade union federations have invited ROSA to speak at their meetings in front of and with numerous shop stewards to present our approach and programme to prepare for a fighting/combative 8th of March. Numerous youth and workers will join these marches, despite the fact that this year this date comes at the end of a week of school holidays.