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Jostled by Macron, employers and unions try a united front

Jostled by Macron, employers and unions try a united front
AFP / File
/ Bertrand GUAY

The leaders of the eight main employers 'and workers' organizations get together Wednesday around the table to try to find common priorities and show a united, rare front to the head of state, who must receive them July 17 at the Elysee

In memory of trade unionists and entrepreneurs, it is the first time that the union and employers' leaders of the representative organizations manage to take language together.

"It is that the time is serious ", analyzes the historian Stéphane Sirot, who sees there" the consequence of the practice of the power of Emmanuel Macron, where the social dialog does not exist ", contrary to the preceding five-year period.

Under François Holland, the social partners "were co-legislators" and had autonomy, with the possibility of negotiating interprofessional agreements then translated into laws, "Macron broke with that," continues the historian.

"The Macron method was one of the triggers of this meeting," recognizes Philippe Louis, president of the CFTC.

At his side are Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux (Medef), Philippe Martinez (CGT), Laurent Berger (CFDT), François Asselin (CPME), Pascal Pavageau (Force Ouvrière), François Hommeril (CFE-CGC) and Alain Griset (U2P). Open at 8:00 am, the in camera meeting, which is taking place at the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC) in Paris, is expected to last about two hours.

"Taking stock"

Everyone comes with their own grievances and hope to find points of convergence with others, an ambitious goal, both organizations are traditionally divided.

On the unions side, FO and the CFDT will defend the setting of a common social agenda, independent of the one wanted by the government. The CFTC wants to talk about the independents. "Are they employees? Entrepreneurs? The problem of the self-employed is common to employers and unions," said Louis. He also plans to sell more systematic summit meetings "to take stock" of the files.

On the management side, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux will "try to share some common concerns", particularly around the creation of employment, wealth and growth in France.

Prudent, the new boss of Medef sees this appointment rather as a "contact" and does not plan to come out with "a common calendar". It does not spare the government, criticizing the multiplication of reforms.

Alain Griset, president of the U2P (crafts and liberal professions), wants to take stock "on the methods used, the results obtained" and see if "it is sufficiently effective in relation to the needs of our companies and in relation to the way the government takes into account this dialogue"

CPME, one of the initiators of this project with FO, remains discreet about its expectations .

However, an internal source had explained Friday that this meeting had been decided because the participants had left "the finding that the intermediate bodies are considered as a kind of stooges" by the government and not "as essential partners "

Chance of calendar or not, the day of the announcement of this meeting, the Elysee has revealed that Emmanuel Macron will receive the social partners on July 17.

This meeting, claimed by the CFDT and FO will be the opportunity to "lay the foundations for a new social contract, that of the century that opens," said Monday before the Congress the head of state.

Will be discussed health at work, the future pension reform, the poverty plan to be announced in September, but also unemployment insurance.

On this last point, the government took the social partners by surprise, announcing that it would ask them to reopen negotiations as early as September, while a reform is being examined by Parliament.

11/07/2018 05:15:33 –
Paris (AFP) –
© 2018 AFP

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