Posted Jul 15, 2022, 6:00 AMUpdated on Jul 15, 2022 at 9:05 am
Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term started with a major reform of the Labor Code, in the face of which the unions appeared divided. Change of tone for the second. First, right from the presidential campaign, there was a unanimous rejection of the Head of State’s project to raise the legal retirement age to 65, hammered home at the congresses of both the Force Ouvrière and the CFDT. But without this giving rise to a common initiative. This took shape on Tuesday evening on purchasing power with all the trade unions – CFDT, CGT, Force Ouvrière, CFTC, CFE-CGC, Unsa, FSU and Solidaires – and student and high school student organizations – Fage , Unef, FIDL, MNL and Voix lycéenne.
Rising wage pressures
Such unity had not taken place for a long time. Even at the end of 2018, following the “Yellow Vests” movement, the inter-union statement asking “real negotiations” hadn’t completely filled up since Solidaires was missing. The last grand slam dates from the pension reform of 2010, after a year 2009 marked by several unit mobilizations on employment and purchasing power. And the one with youth organizations also dates from 2006, during the conflict against the first job contract.
Through their text, the 13 organizations set a date on a doubly topical theme. Firstly because parliament is starting to examine the bill on purchasing power. Then because this subject, significant among the French in general and employees in particular, is already causing a rise in tensions in companies, even though the SMIC will already be, on August 1st, at the third revaluation of the year. due to the resumption of inflation. “At a time when social conflicts are multiplying to obtain legitimate wage increases at least equal to the rate of inflation, the question of purchasing power is central for workers”states the opening text.
His writing gave rise to intense discussions, during a meeting at the headquarters of Force Ouvrière, but not only. One of the negotiators counted about sixty emails. “The situation is very different from five years ago”notes a trade union leader who underlines that then, “we were faced with a Jupiterian president who had no record and who had an absolute majority in the Assembly”.
While several attempts at joint initiatives failed during the previous five-year term, no one played the divide this time around. Even the call launched on July 7 by the CGT with only Solidaires for a strike on wages on September 29 did not point the other organizations. “Philippe Martinez needs not to be overtaken by Jean-Luc Mélenchon”, explains, understanding, one of their representatives recalling that on July 5, the rebellious leader called for “a great march against the high cost of living”.
Tuesday’s statement is important because it highlights significant points of agreement which are as many messages intended for the executive of course but also for employers whose responsibility is pointed out. The unions are firing red balls against the bill on purchasing power: “a succession of one-off measures mostly financed by the State [qui] cannot constitute a sufficient group to respond to the emergency”.
“Wages must remain the basis of a rebalanced distribution of wealth in favor of employees”, they insist. Affirming that “the responsibility for purchasing power measures is also the responsibility of private and public employers”they believe that “the future parliamentary debate must make it possible to move forward in particular on this conditionality of aid to companies which do not play the game in terms of wages”.
The trade unions know it: the first period of the five-year term is a “political period”. If the declaration aims to weigh in this particular moment, it is also a way for them to set a date for the start of the school year. An appointment was also made between them on September 5.
Inflation: the rise in prices of 10 everyday products and services