Sunday, 22 May, 2022

The social conference skates on employment

The Prime Minister launched the social projects for the next few months on Friday.

The great social conference gave birth to a little mouse. This was the feeling, yesterday, of the participants, after the speech of the Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, which closed two days of debates at the Palais d’Iéna, in Paris.

In July 2012, the first edition, which overstated the state of grace of the presidential election, launched the jobs of the future, the generation contracts and above all the negotiation on job security. The second promises three areas: vocational training, social democracy and pensions. Structural. But no ringing and stumbling announcements, in a context where more than 10% of the active population is unemployed.

Arlesian. Faced with what François Hollande described on Thursday as “waste for the economy”, Jean-Marc Ayrault decreed “immediate mobilization”. However, the main emergency measure announced yesterday concerns the question of “unfilled job offers”. An Arlesian with a dubious reality (Release of Thursday), which would concern, according to the government, from 200,000 to 300,000 jobs. The Prime Minister thus announced the implementation of“a priority training plan for employment”, whose objective is to allow the entry into training of 30,000 additional unemployed people in four months, which would correspond to these “employment opportunities” identified in particular in the craft industry. A system intended primarily for long-term job seekers. Why 30,000? “Because it is useful to give yourself a figure to mobilize energies and because it is a reasonable and ambitious order of magnitude in four months”, explained in the entourage of the government.

From the beginning of July, the Minister of Labour, Michel Sapin, will bring together trade unions and employers to “identify the needs, by region and by sector, specify the tools that can be used immediately and mobilize funding”. A meeting is already scheduled for July 2 between rue de Grenelle and the prefects. “We must make this plan operational as soon as the start of the school year in September”, added the Prime Minister, who also encouraged more rapid use of the anti-unemployment devices shelled for a year by the government. Like jobs for the future (30,000 signed at the end of June, 100,000 planned for the end of 2013), generation contracts, which started in small businesses but are struggling in the branches, and assisted contracts, the volume of which comes from be inflated by 100,000.

Another project that the government has been incubating for several months: a “beautiful and ambitious reform of vocational training and work-study”. A structural overhaul that one, and “in depth” because, as Jean-Marc Ayrault reminded us, “Only 20% of job seekers have access to training each year, [et] workers have access to it twice less than executives”. It is therefore to better direct vocational training towards these audiences – young people without qualifications, employees faced with economic change and people suffering from illiteracy. The method will be the same as for the employment security law which has just entered into force: government roadmap, negotiation between the social partners, then draft law “before the end of the year”. The government will send employers and unions the orientation document within ten days, the start of this negotiation. The cornerstone of the reform will be the individual training account, provided for by the job security law. In addition, a consultation on the development of work-study programs will be organized from September. And who will perhaps develop “the idea” of François Hollande, who had spoken, Thursday, of an apprenticeship contract with “hiring commitment” for companies “who wish to be more associated with the content of the training courses that are delivered”. Goal : “get to 500,000” apprentices within three years, compared to 435,000 today.

High Mass. Another sensitive subject of the social conference: the pension system, whose deficit should reach 20 billion euros in 2020. Without going any further in the avenues explored, Jean-Marc Ayrault confirmed the timetable for the reform, with a project of text in September. “Courageous decisions” will be taken, he contented himself with letting go, when François Hollande, the day before, had judged that the extension of the contribution period was “the fairest measure, provided that it is applied to all”. The Prime Minister will meet from July 4, one by one, the social partners.

From this annual high mass, two expressions emerged from government speeches: the “social dialogue”, to answer the “doubt” the French. Except that at the end of the conference, it was the social partners, responsible for social dialogue, who ended up having doubts.

Photo Laurent Troude