Saturday, 22 January, 2022

Pensions: compromise in sight but not yet the end of the strike


The withdrawal by the government of the famous “pivotal age” of the pension reform on Saturday opens the way to a way out of the crisis with the return to negotiation of the reformist unions, but the opponents do not disarm, ruling out the hypothesis of an end rapid conflict. Ile-de-France residents who have endured transport difficulties for 39 days may have to wait: the intersyndicale (CGT, FO, CFE-CGC, FSU, Solidaires and youth organizations) calls to continue the movement and to march on January 16 for the sixth time since the conflict began on December 5.

Certainly, the “reformists”, opposed to the pivotal age but favorable to the new points system (CFDT, Unsa and CFTC), seized the hand extended by Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, who was to speak in the 20h de France 2 Sunday evening. But the “protesters”, spearheads of the strikes, CGT, FO and Solidaires, do not give up an inch for the moment, despite the appeal of the Minister of Transport, Elisabeth Borne, Sunday on BFMTV, for whom “he does not ‘There is no longer any reason for this strike movement to continue.

SNCF and RATP announced traffic that was still disrupted but “improving” for Monday, with an average of 8 TGVs out of 10 in France, 7 Intercités out of 10 and 7 Transilien out of 10, while the RER A and B will circulate rightly. every other train all day. If for Fabien Villedieu (Sud Rail), the government’s announcement will “boost” the determination of the strikers, the arrival of January pay slips may well cool some employees. “We can see that colleagues want to return to work,” noted, disillusioned, an agent of line 2 met by AFP in the demonstration on Saturday. “It’s going to be complicated to continue financially”. “It could continue if there was a national commitment, but we can see that the private sector did not follow”.

Monday’s general assemblies will give an indication of the continuation of the movement at SNCF and RATP. The demonstrations of the 16th will also be a test, while the attendance decreases in the street: Saturday, the demonstrators were 149,000 according to the Ministry of the Interior, 500,000 according to the CGT, that is to say a third of the participation of Thursday 9 ( 452,000 to 1.7 million).

Battle of opinion

Government and unions will have their eyes on the next polls. “Public opinion supports the strikers,” claimed Philippe Martinez on Saturday evening. The “financing conference”, which must be set up at the end of January to find an agreement by the end of April on the financial balance of the system, will be decisive. “The government has made a gesture, and no one can dispute it. But this withdrawal is not a blank check,” warned the secretary general of the CFDT Laurent Berger, the first union, in the JDD. Government and employers remain in favor of an age measure and oppose any increase in contributions. The government has also ruled out cutting pensions, leaving negotiators little room for maneuver.

In the JDD, Laurent Berger evokes other recipes and says he is ready to speak in particular of “the question of the pension reserve fund” or of “the employment of seniors” to find additional resources. Laurent Escure (Unsa) proposes again in Le Parisien Sunday to draw on “the reserve fund of 30 billion euros”, and “from 2024, to permanently withdraw 1 billion or 1.5 billion from what the CRDS “, a contribution created in 1996 to reduce the social security deficit. As for Philippe Martinez, he deemed it unnecessary to participate in the future fundraising conference on Sunday on BFMTV: “What are we going to do in a conference where we are not going to discuss everything?” he asked. “This is my personal point of view,” he said, specifying that the central “was going to discuss it”.

The specter of the abortive negotiation of unemployment insurance is in everyone’s mind: lack of agreement between social partners, the government had taken control and changed the rules to the chagrin of the unions. “I will take my responsibilities”, assures Edouard Philippe in his letter to the social partners. He will have a lot to do to convince the right to vote the text: Sunday, the President of the Senate Gérard Larcher (LR) stressed that the right-wing voters “can no longer support a reform where there is no longer a pivotal age. “. Bruno Retailleau, president of the LR group of the High Assembly, for his part, predicted “a shipwreck” of the project. Two ministers, Muriel Pénicaud (Work) and Elisabeth Borne (Ecological transition), in any case ruled out recourse to 49-3, allowing the adoption of a law without a vote. An idea “absurd” for the first, a “false information”, according to the second. (With AFP)

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Pension reform

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