How the social partners are working hand in hand in the face of the coronavirus crisis

A pavement in the pond and a big controversy. Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, president of Medef, did not go all the way last weekend, taking out of his hat an old antiphon from employers: “Sooner or later, we will have to ask ourselves the question of working time, public holidays and paid vacations to accompany the economic recovery, ”he said. This media exit, which reflects the extreme nervousness of employers in the face of the economic tsunami caused by Covid-19, made the CFDT, the leading union in France, jump: “Asking the French to work more is indecent”, carried away Laurent Berger, the leader of the confederation. Same tone on the side of Force Ouvrière: “The employers exert pressure on the recovery of the economy, comments Yves Veyrier, its general secretary. We have the feeling that we risk balancing health with activity.”

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“Despite everyone’s differences, all the players listen to each other”

Faced with the bronca, the Medef was forced to backpedal so as not to seize a very intense dialogue

oux de Bézieux, president of Medef, did not go all the way last weekend, taking out of his hat an old antiphon from employers: “Sooner or later we will have to ask ourselves the question of working time, public holidays and paid vacations to accompany the economic recovery, ”he said. This media exit, which reflects the extreme nervousness of employers in the face of the economic tsunami caused by Covid-19, made the CFDT, the leading union in France, jump: “Asking the French to work more is indecent”, carried away Laurent Berger, the leader of the confederation. Same tone on the side of Force Ouvrière: “The employers exert pressure on the recovery of the economy, comments Yves Veyrier, its general secretary. We have the feeling that we risk balancing health with activity.”

Read alsoWhen the president of Medef Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux caricatures himself

“Despite everyone’s differences, all the players listen to each other”

Faced with the bronca, the Medef was forced to backpedal so as not to seize a very intense dialogue since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic between unions, employers and the executive. “We have never spoken so much to each other, advance François Hommeril, secretary general of the CFE-CGC. Despite everyone’s differences, all the players listen to each other and it is very productive to find intelligent solutions. We raise issues. field that allow devices to be corrected. ” This attentive ear reflects a change in the government’s attitude towards the social partners, little listened to since the start of the five-year term.

This observation is shared by the CFDT, the first union in France: “Up to now, we have worked a lot on emergency measures such as partial unemployment,” says Yvan Ricordeau, CFDT national secretary. Now, we must consider the rest with a deconfinement protocol negotiated between social partners and the government. We made this proposal to the President of the Republic last Friday. “

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Intense discussions in the branches

Talks are also numerous in certain professional branches such as metallurgy, the first to have reached an agreement on April 3 to restart factories. In particular, it allows an employer with a decline in activity to impose paid leave to its employees two days in advance, compared to one month in normal periods. “As soon as the confinement was announced, it seemed important to us to find ourselves with the preservation of the health of our employees as an absolute priority and from that, the need to find the conditions for a rapid recovery if possible. activity, explains Hugues Mongon, the general delegate of the Union of industries and professions of metallurgy (UIMM). We cannot afford the luxury of a total economic rupture. We must do everything so that the confinement does not prevent not restarting the business. “

On the ground, the discussions, sometimes long and laborious, between employers and unions are starting to bear fruit: Toyota has announced that its Valenciennes plant will restart on April 21. Same story for the Bosh factory in Rodez which after four failed attempts, due to opposition from employee organizations, finally reopened its doors on April 14.

There remains a constant in the social landscape: the protest position of the CGT which calls for a strike in the public service throughout the month of April. The Montreuil power station is at the forefront to defend low wages, very often on the front line, asking in a letter sent to the President of the Republic the revaluation of the minimum wage. “The CGT is making a risky bet: it wants to capture the anger that could appear next fall after the crisis,” observes Bernard Vivier, director of the Higher Institute of Labor.