Unions and employers united to ask Castex to talk about jobs and not pensions

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Prime Minister Jean Castex wants to relaunch the pension reform. – Francois Mori / AP / SIPA

After the baptism of fire in Parliament, the social agenda: Jean Castex began to receive Thursday in Matignon the social partners, who, given the social crisis, have all put forward the question of “employment” rather than that of pensions which they do not want to hear about in the coming months.

From the early hours of the morning until Thursday evening, before a resumption Friday afternoon, it was the big parade of unions and employers in Matignon – in the presence of the new Minister of Labor, Élisabeth Borne – to take the pulse of intentions of the new Prime Minister. “End of the first day of meetings with the social partners. Constructive and nourished discussions to build a relationship of trust, “tweeted the Prime Minister at the end of the day.

“We will judge by acts”

Laurent Berger (CFDT), who had opened the ball, welcomed a contact “very frank, very open to the method”. “Change of men, change of style,” added the man who had been Edouard Philippe’s key interlocutor during the pension reform before it was suspended by the epidemic.

“Very direct and very frank,” said Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux (Medef). “A square and field Prime Minister,” added Christiane Lambert (FNSEA). François Hommeril (CFE-CGC) was delighted that “the Prime Minister wants to associate us with the recovery plan and its follow-up”.

“He was attentive to our words but trust is earned, we will judge the actions,” tempered Philippe Martinez (CGT).

On the merits, Laurent Berger, whose union is in favor of the principle of the universal points pension plan, reiterated that this dossier was “not the subject of summer and autumn”, stressing that “the priority today is jobs ”. “Not before 2021,” added Cyril Chabanier (CFTC) for whom “we cannot treat everything at the same time”.

“We must first save businesses and jobs”

“You have to go into pause mode,” added François Asselin (CPME). “We must first save businesses and jobs,” argued Laurent Munerot (U2P). “This is an explosive subject that will divide the country,” warned Philippe Martinez (CGT). There is “no question” of having “age measures”, such as the lengthening of the contribution period, to remedy the question of funding, added Yves Veyrier (FO).

“Let’s discuss at the start of the school year, but with up-to-date figures” concerning the deficit of the current system, insisted Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux.

Jean Castex, him, had already expressed Wednesday his determination to settle this matter “in the short term”. “Refusing to talk about pensions when the balance of accounts, and therefore the safeguard of the current system is compromised, would be irresponsible,” he argued.

He also designed his method: the reform of the system, and therefore of the special regimes, will be separated from the provisions “to safeguard the current system”, of a financial nature. According to a provisional estimate by the Pensions Guidance Council (COR), the deficit should approach this year the record level of 30 billion euros, very far from the 4 billion expected before the crisis.

At the Elysée Palace, it is estimated that the government can lead negotiations on pension reform, the Ségur de la santé conclusions and the response to the economic and social crisis.

Postpone unemployment insurance reform

Besides pensions and employment, other important projects are fallow, such as the unemployment insurance reform, the second part of which was to come into force on September 1.

Jean Castex has reiterated to the unions his desire to postpone it, while they are demanding the abandonment of this reform which provides for a new calculation of the allowance for those, often precarious, who alternate short contracts and unemployment.

The unions also want the executive to go back on the tightening of the opening of rights (six months of work on the last 24 since November 1 against four of 28 before) and their reloading.

Announcements on unemployment insurance should be made “next week”, according to Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux who requests the postponement of another measure, the bonus-malus, intended to penalize companies that abuse short contracts.

After his declaration of general policy on the 15th, Jean Castex will once again receive the social partners on July 17th “for a social conference”, according to Cyril Chabanier. It will define the priorities, method and timetable for the coming months.

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