Unions and employers called to negotiate on employee savings

Posted Sep 22, 2022, 6:30 PMUpdated on Sep 22, 2022 at 6:37 PM

The President of the Republic promised a change of method of government but it is for the moment difficult to see it on the two major social projects launched at the start of this second five-year term. Whether on unemployment insurance or on retirees the executive intends to remain master on board.

The invitation received by the number one employers and trade unions a few days ago is therefore an event in itself: as revealed by "Le Monde", the Minister of Labor wrote to them to propose that they "start a interprofessional negotiation on the sharing of value" and asks them to inform him of their decision "by next October 2".

Not really suspense

This is not a surprise insofar as the initiative was mentioned during the debate on the legislative package on purchasing power , the "employee dividend" promised by Emmanuel Macron during the campaign being postponed. But this government referral on the sharing of value is the first application for a long time of article L1 of the Labor Code, which provides that in the event of a reform project on individual and collective labor relations, employment and vocational training, the social partners are seized to negotiate.

Olivier Dussopt's invitation will be discussed during the video meeting scheduled for next week - probably Tuesday or Wednesday - between business and union leaders . But there is not really any suspense on the decision in principle that will emerge: on the side of employee representatives as well as companies, the subject is considered to be major.

Slack on the calendar

On the other hand, it is likely that the social partners will ask for slack on the calendar. The orientation document attached to the letter from the Minister of Labor deems "desirable" a conclusion of the discussions for the 1er November, to integrate “as part of the next finance bill […] those of the measures which will have their place therein”.

But this is not an ultimatum. “If the social partners wish to have more time to conduct the negotiation, they are asked to inform the government of this, indicating the deadline […] seems appropriate to them”, it is specified.

Three lines of thought

In his specifications, Olivier Dussopt sets out three lines of thought for the social partners. The first is to “generalize the benefit of value-sharing mechanisms for employees, especially in smaller companies”. The employee dividend is only mentioned at the turn of a sentence and without naming it, a sign of the significant latitude left to future negotiators. The guidance document speaks of “a value-sharing mechanism whose triggering would depend on the results, the company's performance or the shareholder's remuneration policy”.

The second line of work set by the government is the “modernization” of the participation formula and the “articulation” between the Macron bonus and the various employee savings schemes.

Finally, a third reflection is open on the means of directing employee savings “towards the major priorities of common interest”. A broad subject covering responsible and solidarity investments, but also the productive economy and ecological transition. The list, it is specified, is not exhaustive. This will undoubtedly be a subject of discussion between employers and unions.

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