the government threatens branches with minimums below the minimum wage

By Le Figaro with AFP

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The Prime Minister threatened the social partners with legislation if they failed to achieve this objective.

Showing the desire to “make work pay better“, Elisabeth Borne threatened on Monday the branches having minimum below the minimum wage to revise downwards their exemptions if there is no progress by June, at the end of a social conference with the social partners.

Welcoming a moment of consultation “useful», the Prime Minister indicated that the Ministry of Labor would receive “soon all branches with minimums below the minimum wage so that they can explain their delay“. “If we do not see significant progress by June 1, 2024, the government will propose to Parliament a text of law which will allow exemptions to be calculated not on the basis of the minimum wage, but on the basis of the branch minimum.“, she said.

Currently, 56 branches are not in compliance and around ten are “structurally», according to the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt. This does not mean, however, that employees are paid below the minimum wage – the employer must fill the gap – but when several levels of seniority are caught up by the minimum wage, this generates a “settlement” salaries.

Élisabeth Borne also proposed to the social partners to “build a new index» on gender equality, the current barometer being “perfectible» and announced a mission entrusted to experts on social contribution exemptions. The Prime Minister also confirmed the creation of a High Council for Remuneration, which will focus in particular on part-time work and short contracts.

Read alsoSalaries: why the scales of certain branches start below the minimum wage


The union organizations (CFDT, CGT, FO, CFTC, CFE-CGC, Solidaires and Unsa) and employers (Medef, U2P, CPME, FNSEA, Fesac and Udes) were gathered for this high m all day long at the Economic and Social Council and environmental (Cese) in the presence of several ministers. “We find ourselves today with the desire that work pays better and to relaunch social promotion», Underlined the Prime Minister at the opening, after a minute of silence in tribute to Dominique Bernard, the teacher killed in an attack on Friday in Arras.

It is the negotiation which will lead to the revision of the clification grids” And “which will change the minimum salaries of branches which are still below the minimum wage“, she clarified, even if “of course, the State will take its full share“. If the unions welcomed the fact that the question of wages was “Finally» on the menu of discussions, they expected “concrete“.

While inflation makes ends meet more difficult for many, purchasing power (…) is the number one concern of the French», insisted the general secretary of the CFDT Marylise Léon, while her counterpart from the CGT Sophie Binet highlighted the “need this day to be productive“. “For the workers, we do not give alms, and it is with the salary that we fill the fridge», Launched Frédéric Souillot (FO).

Read alsoInflation reinforces low-wage trap mechanisms

Closed doors

The Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt then underlined that “the State cannot be alone at the crossroads of expectations and demands“, while the Minister of the Economy listed several “dead ends» including the indexation of salaries to inflation, demanded in particular by the CGT and FO. Bruno Le Maire mentioned different “work tracks“, such as the need to “boost productivity» or improve gender equality.

After these interventions, the unions were skeptical. “There’s no point in bringing us in for a day of social conference dedicated to salaries if we don’t talk about salaries», decided Sophie Binet. “I have doubts that we can process things when we have visions» based on “statistics, Excel spreadsheets and curves», added Marylise Léon, while for François Hommeril (CFE-CGC) “Bruno the Mayor is very strong, he closed all the doors“.

The social conference takes place three days after a half-hearted demonstration to defend purchasing power, which brought together between 92,500 and some 200,000 people in France. The downside is that it took place against a backdrop of deep disagreement between the social partners and the government over the finances of the private supplementary pension schemes (Agirc-Arrco) and unemployment insurance (Unedic). “There was never any question of puncturing them», defended Élisabeth Borne, wishing however “protect» savings made in supplementary schemes thanks to the pension reform.

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