They are back at Matignon. The unions are received this Tuesday and Wednesday by Elisabeth Borne for the first time since the promulgation of the highly contested pension reform, which still occupies everyone’s mind and could place them “in a position of strength” in the negotiations.
After a meeting with the intersyndicale at the beginning of April which had turned short, the Prime Minister receives this time each of the five representative organizationswithout a specific agenda.
The Prime Minister, regularly heckled by pans of opponents of the reform, says she is “listening to the priorities” of trade unions and employers’ organisations.
As she blows out her first candle at Matignon on Tuesday, receiving Monday a satisfaction from Emmanuel Macron for her action tinged with “strength, determination and courage”, she will meet at the end of the afternoon with FO and the CFDT . Then Wednesday morning with the CFE-CGC and the CFTC, before the CGT in the afternoon.
These meetings are part of the roadmap that Emmanuel Macron entrusted to Élisabeth Borne to relaunch the executive after the pension crisis.
The intersyndicale reiterated Monday in a press release its “determined” opposition to the reform, against which it is organizing a 14th day of strike and demonstrations on June 6, two days before examination of a bill from the Liot group seeking its repeal.
The unions invite the deputies to vote for it, to “(respect) the will of the population mively expressed since January”.
The demands of the unions
Liot’s text is the subject of intense reflection by the groups of the majority who weigh in particular the argument of “financial inadmissibility”, in reference to the constitutional rule which states that a proposal from parliamentarians cannot degrade public finances.
Elisabeth Borne gathered on Sunday at Matignon to discuss the Renaissance, Horizons and MoDem groups, with the President of the embly Yaël Braun-Pivet. Several ministers and leaders of the majority also spoke about it at the Élysée on Monday morning, according to a participant. The Majority Intergroup will unveil its strategy on Tuesday.
After the forced adoption of the pension reform, which fueled the May 1 protests, the unions come with a bag full of demands and could raise the stakes.
In the context of inflation, the unions mainly hear about wages, and will repeat that they consider “unfair and brutal” the degression of unemployment benefits or the conditionality of access to the RSA (minimum income for people without resources, editor’s note ) – whose beneficiaries could be subject to sanctions.
All the unions demand that public aid to companies be “conditioned” on social objectives, such as higher wages, and environmental ones.
The CFDT will request a suspension of exemptions from contributions for branches which have minima lower than the minimum wage. The CGT, which comes, in the words of its number 1 Sophie Binet to the Parisian “to make demands”, “to negotiate, not to discuss”, for its part wants an indexation of wages on the rise in prices.
The employers’ organizations, which will be received next week, would have preferred independent negotiations with the unions before seeing the government. The Medef regularly highlights their agreement on value sharing.
“We will continue to say that the page has not been turned”
In addition to the employment of seniors or arduous work, so many subjects challenged by the reform by the Constitutional Council, the Prime Minister intends to build with the social partners a “social agenda” for a “new pact for life at work”.
A bill, “which will embed the result of the negotiations” between the unions and the employers, should be tabled at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2024, according to Matignon.
But despite the resumption of dialogue, “mistrust will remain extremely deep”, warned Sophie Binet for whom “there will be no return to normal if this reform (pensions) is not abandoned”.
“We will continue to say that the page is not turned” on pensions, but “we cannot not talk about inflation, purchasing power”, explains to AFP the president of the CFTC Cyril Chabanier, believing that the unions are “in a position of strength thanks to the social movement”.
“Everything will cost more”, abounds Laurent Berger, boss of the CFDT, who will also have requirements in terms of method. “What is the co-construction in which they intend to enter? “.