Prime Minister Jean Castex receives unions and employers on Monday for a “social dialogue conference”, the second of its kind since July 17. At the time, the new minister had succeeded in containing the unions by agreeing, in this context of the Covid-19 crisis, to drop ballast on the calendar on the controversial reforms of pensions and unemployment insurance. But there will undoubtedly be a little tension at Matignon.
Since 9 o’clock this morning, it is a question of making “a progress report” on the first projects launched at the Ministry of Labor, in particular those in response to the crisis, such as the follow-up of the youth plan, professional retraining or jobs in tension. For Marylise Léon, deputy secretary of the CFDT, the priority is not to save money with the reform of unemployment insurance, postponed to January 1, but to open systems that allow employees to go from professional sector to another.
Can unemployment insurance reform be postponed again?
MARYLISE LÉON. The subject is at the heart of the discussions this morning. Even if it seems ready to make some adjustments, the government suggests that it does not intend to give up or postpone this reform, despite the particular context linked to the health crisis. We asked for test cases to measure the concrete consequences of the reform for the unemployed. According to Unédic’s latest projections, more than 1.2 million people will be unemployed in 2021. If the reform is implemented as planned, this represents savings of 1.5 billion euros. , and therefore reduction in rights in 2021, and 2.66 billion euros less for the unemployed in 2022. In terms of the economy, therefore reduction in rights, we are in orders of magnitude that we have never known.
What can these adjustments be?
There are discussions, and it is too early to tell, but basically, we are not at all in phase with the government, which considers this a good reform. He considers that earning less when you are unemployed encourages people to find a job. This is to consider that a large part of job seekers choose to be unemployed. In the context where there is less work than before, this is insane.
Some companies are emphasizing professional retraining. Is it a subject of work?
Yes, there have been exchanges for several weeks, but there are still many holes in the racket. The devices are not developed and very little funded. The money comes mainly from companies whose employees are leaving. In fact, applications are rarely granted since the latter are reluctant to finance training for departing employees. We are therefore asking for collective training, because many companies will not be able to withstand the shock.
Is the case of frontline workers during the crisis on the agenda?
This is a subject that we want to reactivate this morning. There are caregivers, but also employees in the field of safety, cleanliness and food trade. People who have never stopped working and who rightly ask for recognition. The security guards, maintenance workers, cashiers, workers in the food industry, all those who have been told, “without you, France would not have held on”, and for whom nothing has happened for six month.