French trade union federations are deciding on their next major mobilisation!

French youth and trade unions demonstrate over attacks on their pensions

THE FRENCH trade union federations were meeting on Thursday to decide their next mobilisations after MPs in the National Assemby on June 8 failed to repeal the Macron government’s attack on pensions that was forced through earlier without a vote.

A Force Ouvriere (FO) union federation editorials on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, by Frédéric Souillot , General Secretary of Force Ouvrière stated: ‘This week, June 15, there is a symposium devoted to parity.

‘This is an opportunity for FO to recall that our organisation has always adhered to contractual and conventional practice and joint action: this is an essential position, established for a long time.

‘The authorship of the very term “paritarisme” is often credited to Force Ouvrière and its general secretary at the time, André Bergeron.

‘This symposium comes at the right time because it coincides with the resumption of discussions between employers and trade unions within the framework of the so-called “autonomous” social agenda, that is to say the subjects for which we consider it better that we take care of it rather than submit to the decisions of the public authorities.

‘This is all the more important in the current context. Social dialogue has been seriously damaged by the president of the Republic and his government, who have remained blind and deaf to the mobilisations of workers who are still demanding the abandonment of the pension reform.

FO bears and will firmly bear its demands.

‘The executive (Macron government) is trying to divert attention with its roadmap aimed at social appeasement. But we are not turning the page.

‘FO bears and will firmly bear its demands. When we met the Prime Minister on May 16, we also recalled our demands on the place to be given back to collective bargaining.

‘Resuming dialogue presupposes an agreement on the working method. A real negotiation between the social interlocutors which is not a framework imposed by the executive, but which is part of orientation letters. The exchanges must be carried out with loyalty and with a methodology allowing real exchanges with a real consideration of the claims.

‘Contractual practice, producing effective rights for employees, has been greatly weakened by recent reforms. The place of joint action for the management of collective solidarity social protection, in all its dimensions (health, retirement, unemployment insurance, vocational training, housing, etc.), has itself been called into question for several years.

‘This is also why FO signed the national agreement on joint action in June 2022, to refuse social statism, preserve our positions of principle and have a point of support to defend the autonomy and efficiency of contractual practice.

‘We come to the practical work, the subjects are numerous in terms of working conditions, unemployment insurance or social protection.

‘FO also raises the question of a negotiation on wages. Salary moderation in the private sector and the meager increase in the index point in the civil service show that there is still a long way to go.’

Fellow union federation, the CGT says: ‘Demands for salary and pension increases are legitimate, especially in an inflationary context with a price increase of 5.1% over one year.

‘The CGT is mobilised to demand and win wage increases, better working conditions, quality jobs.’

Throughout France, struggles for higher wages and pensions are multiplying.

‘INSEE (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) has just published inflation figures for the month of May 2023, we note a very slight decline in consumer prices (0.1%).

‘Not enough to give back purchasing power to workers who are still struggling to live with dignity from their work.

‘It is in this context that the Minister for the Civil Service announced this week a revaluation of the index point for civil servants by 1.5%, while all the trade unions were demanding 10% to compensate for inflation and the years freezing of the index point.

‘This Thursday, June 15, a national and inter-union mobilisation of retirees is organised to demand in particular a revaluation of retirement pensions.

‘In companies, several struggles are underway for salary increases such as at Decathlon or Disney.

‘Initiatives are numerous throughout the territory with the watchword: increasing wages and pensions.

The insufficient announcement of revaluation of the index point of civil servants.

‘Monday, June 12, the Minister of Public Service and Transformation announced, during a meeting with the trade unions, an increase in the index point for civil servants limited to 1.5% while inflation is today 5.1% today!

‘While the loss of purchasing power since June 2010, marking the start of the long period of freezing, now amounts to more than 16%, this measure of 1.5% applicable on July 1, 2023 is therefore largely insufficient.’

According to Christophe Delcourt of the UFSE CGT: ‘Even if by their mobilisations the civil service personnel forced Stanislas Guerini not to freeze the value of the index point, its revaluation of 1.5% is unacceptable and well below inflation.

‘Worse still, the minister is proposing a so-called “purchasing power” bonus, not taken into account in the calculation of pensions, not sustainable, and of which the agents of the local authorities could be deprived.

‘The minister must revise his copy. It is in this sense that the CGT will act with the other trade union organisations of the public service.’

The CGT statement continued: ‘During a meeting with the minister, the CGT affirmed the need to make a radical break with the harmful orientations which are at work and insisted on the importance of general measures making it possible to take into account the situation of all staff, civil servants and non-tenured employees.

‘It is also a means of working concretely for professional equality, since the majority of civil service personnel are women.

Retirees mobilised on June 15 for the revaluation of pensions.

‘While prices have been exploding with inflation for several months, retirees are still exposing themselves to more poverty.

‘It is to defend the purchasing power of retirees that a national inter-union day of action for retirees is organised this Thursday, June 15.’

The CGT claims:

• ‘An increase of 6% for basic pensions and 6.2% for supplementary pensions with retroactive effect over 1 year

• ‘Not a pension below the SMIC

• ‘The payment of 300 euros immediately for everyone

• ‘Give the means to Social Security

• ‘Have local public services

• ‘Have a paper pension sheet every month

• 15/32/60: 15 euros per hour for a minimum wage of 2,000 euros gross, 32 hours per week, 60 years old to leave with full retirement.’