In the middle of a session of debates around the purchasing power bill, LFI MP and ex-housekeeper Rachel Keke wanted to be heard. Decryption of a remarked speech.
[Mis à jour le 21 juillet à 16h55] This new Assembly has not finished surprising us. This July 21, it is a particularly remarkable speech that will have made the news. In this hemicycle divided on social issues, a member stood out for her rant inspired by her personal journey. Rachel Keke, elected in Val-de-Marne under the Nupes label after beating former Sports Minister Roxanna Maracineanu in the legislative elections, had already stood out for having been “the woman who made Ibis bend” . In fact, her victorious fight for a salary increase at the Ibis-Batignolles against the hotel group Accor in 2021 has made her a figure in social mobilizations. This time, she asked the majority deputies to think twice about their “bonus proposal” aimed at compensating for the precarious wages of people paid the minimum wage under the purchasing power law.
In the midst of a clash between her party – LFI – which wants to set the minimum wage at 1,500 euros and the presidential camp which opposes it, she relied on her past as a cleaning lady to raise awareness among the parliamentarians of the majority on the question of salary increase. “I would like to know in this hemicycle who has already received 800 euros? Who has already received 900 euros? 1000 euros? Nobody!”, She exclaimed in particular to support her argument of the detachment of the elites vis-à-vis the daily reality of some French people. Pointing to what she perceives as a “contempt” of the elected officials of Together! vis-à-vis the “essential professions” and “those who serve France”, she said she was “horrified” to see the way in which the deputies decide on economic questions. In what societal and budgetary debates does this speaking out fit?
It was supposed to be one of the most consensual subjects in the hemicycle. However, the purchasing power bill recently proposed by the government is causing a stir in the Assembly. Opposing the deputies of rebellious France, who wish to set the Smic at 1500 euros, to the deputies of the presidential camp who refuse to give in, it catalyzes the tensions around the famous Macron bonus. When some welcome this device which had concerned one in five employees in 2020 and wish to keep it in broad outline (knowing that its ceiling was increased on July 21), others would like to triple it by raising it from 1000 euros maximum per employee, or 2,000 euros in the event of a profit-sharing agreement, at 3,000 and 6,000 euros respectively.
Rachel Keke relied on the example of the salary situation at Monoprix, at a time when several stores in the chain went on strike to demand pay rises in the Alpes-Maritimes. “Monoprix employees, those who served France during Covid-19, are only asking for a salary increase. The CEO of Monoprix has increased his salary by 70%. And you refuse”, argued Rachel Keke, pointing out the lack realism of parliamentarians who, in his eyes, fail to imagine the working and living conditions of precarious employees. His camp has so far failed to enforce the increase in the Smic to 1500 euros, since his amendment was rejected by a large part of the Assembly, with only 121 votes “for” (against 257 votes “against”).
The tone rises in the Assembly. After Rachel Keke’s invective on July 21, the answers were not long in coming. “You have people in your party who have never earned 800 euros per month, you have a party president who has surely never earned 800 euros per month”, defended the Republican deputy Aurélien Pradié, making allusion to the salary of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. “We are just as legitimate as you to express the defense of our fellow citizens and the most modest,” he protested. On the side of the majority, there is protest at the turn taken by the debates in the hemicycle, as evidenced by the intervention of Aurore Bergé, the president of the Renaissance group (ex-LaREM) in the National Assembly: “We “We are very calm on these benches. We accept hours of invective, questioning, insults that keep coming from this part of the hemicycle (..). but at some point, that’s enough”. However, the crux of the problem is above all economic: the deputies of the presidential camp put forward their own arguments to support the Macron bonus.
The government has so far rejected the price increase demanded by the Nupes group, despite the price increase. This dissonance as to the economic tone to adopt comes as the 577 deputies of the hemicycle decided on the future of amendment n ° 936 carried by LFI, EELV, the PCF and the PS on the evening of July 20. With 257 votes “against”, the increase in the minimum wage discussed in the context of the debates on “emergency measures for the protection of purchasing power” was not adopted. During these sessions of debates, the presidential majority remained posted on its positions by refusing to modify the legislative text on the purchasing power to introduce a rise in wages there, preferring to pass by bonuses. Among the arguments put forward, we find the idea that raising the minimum wage to 1,500 euros net “would threaten the activity of our companies and our jobs”, as justified by the majority rapporteur Charlotte Parmentier-Lecocq, who prefers “the increase income of employees at minimum wage. According to Perrine Goulet, also elected by the majority (Modem MP for Nièvre), if the 1500 euros “are a very good communication argument”, “between the revaluation which will take place in August and the activity bonus to which people who are at the minimum wage have the right, we are already almost at 1500 euros“, as she said at the microphone of BFMTV.