New street test this Tuesday for pension reform

Posted Jan 30, 2023, 6:03 PMUpdated on Jan 30, 2023 at 6:08 p.m.

Will they do as well as January 19? Less good ? Better ? This is the whole issue of the second day of mobilization against the pension reform organized by the unions on Tuesday. Paradoxically, the clear success of the first day of mobilization (more than 1 million demonstrators) sets the bar very high. The 2010 record, during the movement against the previous pension reform, according to police counts is 1.23 million demonstrators.

The polls go in the direction of the inter-union, in particular with the growing hostility of women to the bill. Opinion remains overwhelmingly opposed to the reform. But the unions know that they have to prove that the momentum is on their side also in the street.

The census of meeting points in France suggests that this is the case, with estimates varying between 215, counting only the parades, and 270 or even up to 300 by integrating any other actions, such as the torchlight procession.

The union unity which is the strength of the movement is available in both professional and geographical fields, which should continue to fuel the processions. Example in the Val-de-Marne, whose departmental union CGT is among the ultras of the central. She has just signed a joint appeal on January 31 with her counterparts from the CFDT and Force Ouvrière.

Transport disrupted

For the time being, while transport will be disrupted, but not necessarily completely blocked, the forecasts in education, one of the sensitive points of any social movement, do not however give the feeling of a tidal wave, with a rate of strikers announced by the teacher unions from kindergarten to high school of 50% against 70% 10 days ago.

“The turnover, with colleagues who tell us that they cannot go on strike for two days in a row and reserve themselves for the next one, comes a little faster than we expected, but at the same time, sectors which had mobilized a little less on the 19th will be more so”, explains the secretary general of the FSU Benoît Teste, who thinks that there should in total “be more people in the demonstrations”.

The leader of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, for his part evoked “one or two demonstrations of force” so that the government “become aware of the powerful rejection that his text arouses”. To what extent will the context of inflation and the concern for purchasing power weigh on the expression of discontent? It is one of the unknowns of this social movement, another being the influx or not of young people in the processions.

11,000 police officers mobilized

A third unknown is whether calm will prevail in the processions as was the case on January 19, very little violence having been to be deplored. “When there are a lot of people, it limits the nuisance power of the black blocks”, wants to believe a seasoned trade unionist. 11,000 police officers will be mobilized, 1,000 more than during the first day of strikes and demonstrations. 4,000 will be present in Paris where a load shedding route has already been decided.

At the end of the Parisian demonstration, where this time again, the leaders of the eight French unions will parade side by side, the intersyndicale will meet this Tuesday at the end of the day, this time at the headquarters of Force Ouvrière, in Paris to decide what to do next.


Pensions: an unprecedented unitary union approach that bears the mark of the CFDT

Posted Jan 30, 2023, 9:28 AM

They don’t leave each other anymore. Once again, on Tuesday January 31, the leaders of the eight French unions will all be there, in the lead procession of the Parisian demonstration, with the aim of amplifying the first successful mobilization against the pension reform, on January 19.

No one would have bet on the formation of such a union unit a few months ago. Then the Cassandres announced a flash in the pan. But the collective holds. “Everyone is extremely careful not to damage the movement”, summarizes François Hommeril, president of the CFE-CGC.

First French union

The Laurent Berger plant is not the only craftsman, but it occupies a central place. “If the mobilization is at this level, it is also because it is in it”, notes François Hommeril. In 2019, against Emmanuel Macron’s attempt at systemic reform, supported by the CFDT, the mobilization had been much less strong.

But if the CFDT is also more visible than in 2010, when the legal retirement age was raised from 60 to 62, it is because it has gained weight in the inter-union. It has been more than four years since it earned its stripes as the first French union at the expense of the CGT until then, without concrete translation. It is already established that this conflict will have installed it at the center of the social landscape. One event symbolizes this: it was its general secretary, Laurent Berger, who read the joint declaration to the Labor Exchange on January 10 on behalf of everyone, and this speech did not cause debate between the organisations, including understood with the general secretary of the CGT, Philippe Martinez.

Not the only spokesperson

The CFDT is not the only spokesperson for the movement, far from it. All the union leaders multiply the public expressions. But the battle crystallizes in the media in the confrontation between the executive and the central. Emmanuel Macron versus Laurent Berger.

Last example dated Saturday January 28th. In an interview with the “World”, published in the morning, Laurent Berger judged that it “needs one or two more demonstrations of force” for the government “to become aware of the powerful rejection that its text arouses”. Looking towards the street but also towards the passage to Parliament, which starts this Monday, Elisabeth Borne replied to him in the evening on Franceinfo that the postponement of the starting age to 64 years “is no longer negotiable”.

Anyone who would deduce a pyramidal vision of the inter-union would however be making a mistake. “We are all doing everything to make it go well,” explains Dominique Corona, in charge of pensions at Unsa. The engine of this dynamic can be found in the relationships of trust woven by Laurent Berger and Philippe Martinez, even when they were in open conflict.

“As long as they get along well, they will be able to anticipate small fractures,” said a member of the inter-union, referring to “leadership without hegemonic vision”. The dynamic was reinforced by the attitude of Force Ouvrière, which, with Yves Veyrier as with Frédéric Souillot, his successor elected in June, is convinced of the interest of the unitary approach and “knows how to put binders”.

The sensitive subject of modes of action

At the forefront of sensitive subjects, there is, however, that of the methods of action. Historically, the CFDT is attached to spaced mobilization days, with if possible a Saturday for the “second lines”, while at the CGT we advocate the blocking of the country and many are hostile to the “leapfrog” days. However, there was no confrontation on the subject in the inter-union.

Marie Buisson, whom Philippe Martinez wishes to see succeed him at the head of the CGT, explained why on France Inter, a few days ago: “Of course we need strikes, but it is not at the headquarters of the trade union organizations that [ça se décrète], it’s not so easy to lose a day’s wages. »

Step by step

The choice to move forward step by step without corseting the initiatives and the success of January 19 has reinforced the unions in this process. “We decide together what we do together… In the meantime, of course, everyone plays their part and no one is obliged to share it,” said Laurent Berger on Saturday.

He explained that at the CFDT “we think that the level of trade union efficiency is not measured by the level of concrete hassles for citizens”. For the moment, this subject is not one, the renewable strike is approached with extreme caution by the most angry unions, such as the CGT-petroleum or their fellow railway workers, who return its examination in ten days. As for energy cégétistes, instead of power cuts, they ultimately preferred to revive the Robin Hoods and reduce the bills of certain users.


Environment: Macron calls for “accelerating” the reduction of carbon emissions

Posted Jan 29, 2023, 11:52 AMUpdated on Jan 29, 2023 at 1:58 p.m.

France has fallen behind in its ecological transition objectives. The President of the Republic recognized this on Saturday, in a video posted on social networks. “Today, we are not there. And if we don’t change things, we won’t get there, ”said Emmanuel Macron, two days after having convened a first ecological planning council at the Elysée to take stock of the actions carried out in the area. matter.

Consequence: we will have to redouble our efforts to meet the objectives set by Brussels of a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. “If we want to reach our 2030 target, we must go to 270 million tons of CO2 issued”, launched Emmanuel Macron. ” [Cela] means that between now and 2030 we must reduce by 140 million tonnes […], which means that we simply have to double the rate of effort compared to what we have done in the last five years. »

Transport and agriculture

To respond to recurring criticism of the government’s inaction, the Head of State stressed that the efforts made over the past five years have been twice as sustained as before. Between 2017 and today, CO emissions2 increased from 434 to 410 million tonnes per year, he said.

In his filmed intervention, Emmanuel Macron also returned to the contribution of each sector of activity to the transition effort. Regarding transport, the first concerned, he pleaded to continue the electrification of the fleet of private vehicles and praised the effectiveness of the conversion bonus and the ecological bonus. The government must work to intensify efforts to “produce (electric) vehicles on our entire soil”. The Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, will have to announce in February measures on public transport infrastructure.

Another frontline sector is agriculture. “We must go much further, much stronger to reduce our emissions”, according to the Head of State. A plan, which will be articulated with a future law in favor of the installation of young farmers, will have to be finalized in June.

“It’s not a discovery, but now we’re getting into the hard part, we have to mobilize the right funding. It will take public money but it also takes private money, ”insisted the president.

Green reindustrialization

Bercy is hard at work. Since the end of 2022, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, has been talking with his German counterpart to find a response to the gigantic American climate subsidy plan (“IRA”). “Green reindustrialization” is Bercy’s priority for 2023: a bill will be presented in May, the minister said in an interview with “JDD” this Sunday.

Bruno Le Maire estimates that to succeed in the energy transition, “60 to 70 billion additional euros per year” are necessary. He calls on local authorities and private actors to participate in the financial effort, believing that “the State can carry part of it but not all of it” and that it must play the role of “lever for private investment”.

The hunt for expenses is also part of the equation, promises once again Bercy. In the crosshairs, the so-called “brown” expenses. “We cannot want to decarbonize our economy and maintain favorable tax advantages for fossil fuels”, pleads Bruno Le Maire. “Let us make our spending consistent with our political objectives. From the 2024 budget, we will thus be able to plan significant spending cuts. “The non-road diesel series, the end of the tax benefit has been postponed several times, however, shows that the game is not won in advance.


Tax adjustment: finds an amicable agreement with Bercy

Posted Jan 25, 2023, 5:55 PMUpdated Jan 25, 2023, 6:00 PM

With finance, the tax administration and have buried the hatchet, after years of legal proceedings. The hotel reservations platform indicated that it had agreed to pay 153 million euros to settle all of its disputes with the French authorities, confirming information from the “L’informé” site.

“We maintain that we are and have always been in good standing with French taxation, and we are satisfied to confirm that we have reached an amicable agreement with the French tax authorities covering a specific observation period from 2006 to 2018,” said the company. The two parties will still have to find an agreement for the period 2019-2021.

Part of the French income declared in the Netherlands was notably criticized for having declared in the Netherlands – which has more favorable taxation – a large part of its turnover made in France, which enabled it to reduce its tax, a technique often criticized for international digital groups. The company had long disputed, arguing that all reservations made in France via its subsidiary Booking BV were managed by its employees in the Netherlands, where its European headquarters are located. And that its French subsidiary was only intended to manage the call center in Tourcoing (North), which provides after-sales service for reservations.

While the French tax authorities initially claimed several hundred million euros, including 356 million for the period 2003-2012, or 70 million for 2013, the agreement reached puts an end to a legal battle. “At, we strive to ensure that our activity is in accordance with the law of all the countries in which we operate”, justifies the company. While the tax administration protects itself against a possible unfavorable outcome.

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Pensions: RATP unions temporize on a hardening of the movement

Posted Jan 25, 2023, 6:44 PMUpdated on Jan 26, 2023 at 8:18 am

No hardening of the movement at this stage at the RATP. While at the SNCF, the proposal for a renewable strike is already on the table to roll back the government on its pension reform, the inter-union of the Parisian board, meeting on Wednesday morning, adopted a waiting position.

“We reaffirm today in unity our hostility to the pension reform wanted by the executive and demand its withdrawal”, hammered in a joint press release the CGT, Force Ouvrière, Unsa and CFE-CGC. For the rest, they have decided not to decide anything before the next day of interprofessional mobilization, next Tuesday.

Determined to “build a large-scale movement”, the four organizations called on “all the agents of the company to express their refusal against (this text) by participating in the strike and the demonstration of January 31”. A possible hardening of the mobilization will therefore wait until 1er February, when the intersyndicale will meet again “to agree on the follow-up to be given”.

Fluctuating mobilization

The tone is – for the moment – less offensive than that employed Tuesday, within the SNCF, by the CGT Cheminots and SUD-Rail. In a joint press release, the two organizations, respectively first and third most representative within the company, first called for “two consecutive days of strike on February 7 and 8”. But they also and above all opened the door to a renewable movement from “mid-February”, for the start of the winter holidays in the Île-de-France region. A position not followed at this stage by the Unsa railway and the CFDT Cheminots, who do not want to plan anything beyond the mobilization of January 31.

So far, the scale of mobilization has been fluctuating. If it turned out to be massive during the interprofessional day of January 19 and promises to be so on Tuesday, the other initiatives launched in the meantime have collapsed. At the SNCF, the notice given for this Thursday was not followed.

A Castex effect at the RATP?

Within the RATP, the social climate is also much less explosive than a few weeks ago. Since his arrival at the head of the board at the end of November, Jean Castex has continued to give pledges of goodwill to the trade unions, which he had met in the wake of taking office.

The former Prime Minister thus obtained the remarkable signature of FO, the CGT and the Unsa at the end of the mandatory annual negotiations, with a salary increase of 105 euros net per month at the key for all the agents. . Discussions on extending the working hours of bus drivers in exchange for a bonus, to partly resolve the labor shortage, also found a favorable outcome in early January. The strike had also been little followed among bus drivers on January 19.

Finally Tuesday evening, during his vows, the former mayor of Prades did not fail to emphasize that it was “not to be taken lightly […] the concerns” of the employees on the outstanding subjects within the Régie, starting with the opening up to competition, calling on “all the stakeholders” to “provide rapid responses”, seeming to taunt, in hollow, the plans of an executive whose head he left in the spring. What again calm the tension in the company, and encourage part of the unions not to engage in a very hard conflict on pensions, as in 2019-2020.



Covid: work stoppages without a waiting day are abolished

Posted Jan 28, 2023, 12:02 PM

The situation is changing for workers affected by Covid. Exceptional work stoppages, without a waiting day for people who test positive for the coronavirus, will no longer be possible from February 1, according to a decree published on Saturday in the Official Journal. This text “puts an end” to “the issuance of derogatory work stoppages to insured persons who are unable to continue to work, including remotely”.

Created at the start of the health crisis in 2020 “in order to limit the spread of the epidemic”, this system had been extended several times, most recently by the Social Security budget for 2023, which however provided for the end of this measure “ at the latest” at the end of the year.

Less than 16,000 hospitalized patients

The government has therefore decided to bring forward the deadline, while the health situation has improved markedly since the beginning of the year, with less than 16,000 patients currently hospitalized, against nearly 25,000 at the end of December. The number of contaminations has also dropped in one month, from more than 20,000 to less than 5,000 per day on average, according to the Covid Tracker site.

In the event of a positive Covid test, positive people must always isolate themselves for a period of 7 days (vaccinated people) to 10 days (non-vaccinated people). Isolation can be lifted after 5 or 7 days depending on the vaccination status, if the person has not had any symptoms for 48 hours and tests negative.

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Pension reform: up to 100% strikers in refineries this Thursday, according to the CGT

Posted Jan 26, 2023, 10:44 AM

“Get even more strikers” is the watchword of the CGT, which is mobilizing its troops this Thursday and Friday against the pension reform. The union thus wants to extend the massive demonstration last Thursday, which brought down between 1 million (according to the government) and 2 million (according to the unions) of people in the streets.

Before the national day of January 31 at the call of the inter-union which will affect all sectors, the strike therefore resumed in several sectors including refineries, power stations or even ports and docks. Indeed, the government reform, which arrives in Parliament on Monday, would lead to the abolition of special regimes at EDF or Engie. Employees in these sectors should therefore also wait until they are 64 to retire.

Strong mobilization in refineries

Refineries are particularly affected. Fuel shipments are blocked to depots, with the usual watchword: “nothing goes in, nothing goes out”. At TotalEnergies, the CGT thus reports 100% of strikers at the Flanders depot (North), mobilized since Wednesday evening, 80% at the Normandy refinery, 60% at the La Mède bio-refinery (Bouches-du-Rhône ), 50% at the Donges refinery (Loire-Atlantique) and 30% at the Grandpuits site (Seine-et-Marne).

“We believe that the strike must be generalized to affect the economy”, indicates Thierry Defresne, CGT secretary of the TotalEnergies Europe committee. The only way, according to him, to “roll back the government”, unlike sporadic 24-hour movements.

Product shipments are interrupted from TotalEnergies sites, with the exception of the Feyzin refinery (Rhône), confirms the oil group. However, he wants to be reassuring and affirms that he will continue to supply his network of service stations and his customers. TotalEnergies adds that there is no lack of fuel in its stations and that stocks in depots and service stations are at a satisfactory level.

The tankers plan local actions with the employees of the port infrastructures, with which joint demonstrations could be organized. The CGT federation of Ports and Docks has called on dockers and port workers to a 24-hour strike this Thursday.

Actions in the electricity sector

Among electricians and gas companies, cuts took place on Wednesday on wind and solar parks in the Montluçon sector, claimed by the CGT. As always, Enedis will file a complaint. In addition, this Thursday morning, the strikers carried out filtering operations at the entrance to the nuclear power plants, delaying the start of work for the day shifts.

Production cuts in nuclear power plants and dams are also to be expected this Thursday and Friday. They should not cause power cuts for the general public, as they are supervised by the manager of the high and very high voltage lines RTE. Despite the presence of many strikers, “there were not many production cuts that night,” said a representative of the CGT, reporting network security messages “from the end of the day on Wednesday”.

RTE, responsible for ensuring the security of the electricity supply, can send safety messages to the strikers if it considers that the production cuts compromise the operation of the network. It is then up to the employees to respect them. “We wonder about the veracity of these messages,” said a union official, given their publication just before the strike. “If these are messages to guarantee commercial exchanges”, the assemblies of strikers will wonder whether they should “respect them or not”, he added.

“We do not want (no) blockages which would be penalizing for all French people and we do not accept any threat”, declared Wednesday the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt before the Senate, speaking of “crime” more than of political or militant action. Aware of the lack of popularity of “targeted cuts”, the unions have also announced “positive” actions, à la Robin des Bois, in energy. They will thus restore power for free to those who are deprived of it or even reduce prices.


Unemployment insurance, reform within reform

Posted Jan 26, 2023, 5:00 PM

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It’s not just pension reform on the table, there’s also that of unemployment insurance. Unemployment continues to decline in France. It reached more than 10% in 2015, it currently stands at just over 7% of the active population. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the number of unemployed job seekers was slightly above 3 million people.

Despite the energy crisis and inflation, the number of permanent contracts (CDI) is breaking records. They rose to more than 5 million in 2022, unheard of. We regularly announce a deterioration of this situation, without seeing it happen for the moment. Good news ? Not totally for job seekers.

One reform can hide another

The government presented a decree before Christmas including a measure that under the bar of 6% unemployment would reduce their benefits over time. This point was withdrawn in the face of the outcry of the unions, but it is part of a set of rules relating to the duration, the amount, the specific conditions of compensation for the unemployed.

They will apply in January 2024, after negotiations with the social partners. In the meantime, a previous reform including in particular a 25% reduction in the duration of benefits as long as the unemployment rate is below 9% will come into force on 1er February of this year for the newly unemployed. The first step of the principle of “countercyclicality” in unemployment insurance wanted by the government.

La Story is a podcast from Les Echos presented by Pierrick Fay. This episode was recorded in January 2023. Editor-in-chief: Clémence Lemaistre. Guest: Alain Ruello (journalist in the France service of “Echos”). Directed by: Willy Ganne. Production and publishing manager: Michèle Warnet. Music: Théo Boulenger. Graphic identity: Upian. Photo: NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP. Sounds: RTS “52 minutes”, BFM TV, Franceinfo, Les Crooks “Assedic” (2019).

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The morale of the French remains at half mast, still weighed down by inflation

Posted Jan 27, 2023, 10:07 AMUpdated on Jan 27, 2023 at 10:25 a.m.

No improvement in sight in the morale of French households at the start of the year. After a year 2022 weighed down by a sudden darkening of the economic situation, against a backdrop of war in Ukraine and inflation, the INSEE indicator which summarizes the opinion of households as to their financial situation, the opportunity to saving, the standard of living in France or the fear of unemployment, fell by one point over one month in January 2023.

The household morale indicator thus stands at 80, a level around which it has been oscillating since the spring of 2022. It has lost 3 points over three months, and remains very far from the long-term average (1987-2002), which is of 100. Twice last year (in July then in September), the indicator fell to 79 points, a level not reached since June 2013.

The stigma of inflation

In January, the opinion of French households on their future financial situation fell by two points and the number of those who believe that it is appropriate to make major purchases lost one point. The deterioration is also visible in the opinion of households regarding the recent change in their standard of living, with a level that is approaching the historic low reached last July. The prospects for their future standard of living only lose one point.

The share of households who believe that prices will accelerate over the year is also falling, even if fears about inflation remain above average. “Almost all households believe that prices have increased over the past twelve months,” recalls INSEE.

Household confidence in their ability to save, both current and future, is also decreasing since these two indicators each lose two points, specifies INSEE, adding that they nevertheless remain above their long-term average. Lastly, household fears regarding the trend in unemployment remain virtually stable (+1 point) and the indicator well below its average.

With AFP

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Productivity at work fell in France in 2022

Posted Jan 26, 2023, 6:00 PMUpdated on Jan 27, 2023 at 12:07

This was already the case in 2020 and 2021. The year 2022 is no exception: labor productivity has stalled in France, in the non-agricultural market sector. Per capita productivity lost 3% in the third quarter of 2022, compared to 2019, reveals a study by Dares, the statistics institute of the Ministry of Labor, published on Thursday.

Hourly productivity also fell by 2.9% in 2022, compared to 2019. The authors of the report point out that these two indicators have deviated from the trends that prevailed before the Covid crisis. Indeed, productivity at work had been on the rise, slightly but steadily, since 2015.

In 2022, per capita productivity is therefore significantly out of step with the initial forecasts (-6.4%) and hourly productivity is in a similar situation (-5.4%).

To explain this phenomenon, the authors of the report put forward several hypotheses. “The increase in the number of work-study trainees, a priori less productive than the rest of the people in employment because they are younger, less experienced and work fewer hours due to their training time, is one of the possible causes of the recent decline in labor productivity,” they write.

The share of work-study in salaried employment is increasing

Since 2019, the use of work-study trainees has increased considerably, in France, due to public policies favorable to their recruitment. The Pénicaud reform of 2018 liberalized the creation of Apprentice Training Centers (CFA) and the bonuses of 6,000 euros for hiring young people, decided as part of the recovery plan, maintained the momentum. Dares estimates that 930,000 apprenticeship contracts were in progress in September 2022, compared to 450,000 in 2019. As a result, the share of work-study in salaried employment is increasing, reaching 4% in the third quarter of 2022, compared to 2 .7% at the end of 2018.

Not the only factor

But the use of alternating is not the only explanation. Indeed, according to the calculations of the authors of the report, this phenomenon would play on the fall in productivity up to a fifth. They also put forward the appearance, in the calculations, of employees who were not previously registered “due to the regularization of concealed work” or “a substitution of resident workers or posted workers returned to their country of origin “.

In certain sectors, affected by a drop in activity, the “retention of labor by companies” could also be one of the factors of this drop in productivity. Finally, the authors of the study point to the “significant number of sick leaves which have persisted since the health crisis”.