Pension reform: why the government so quickly refused the unions' offer of “mediation”

Pension reform: why the government so quickly refused the unions' offer of “mediation”

The French government angered the unions by abruptly rejecting their request for a “pause” of pension reform while a “mediation” was carried out, when the French were back in the streets on Tuesday March 28, 2023 for a tenth day of mobilization

End of inadmissibility. While the prospect of a way out of the crisis seemed possible with this offer of “mediation” made this Tuesday morning by the inter-union, the rapid and categorical refusal of the government at midday showered everyone a little.

Invited Tuesday morning on France Inter, the secretary general of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, called on the executive to a “strong gesture”, a “pause” of the reform. “There is a deep dispute. It would be madness on the part of those who govern us not to take the time to temporize”, declared the leader of the reformist union, who confirmed having had the Elysée on the phone last week. last.

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“We have to enter into a mediation process. We have to put on hold the measure” to raise the legal retirement age from 62 to 64, he pleaded, specifying speak on behalf of the intersyndicale. The outgoing secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, confirmed at the start of a demonstration in Clermont-Ferrand that all the unions were on the same line, adding that the intersyndicale was going to formulate this proposal in writing to President Emmanuel Macron. .

“It’s unbearable”, says Berger

This proposal was well received by the elected representatives of the centrist MoDem party, a member of the government coalition, but it was almost immediately rejected by the government spokesperson. “We believe that there is no need to have mediation when we can talk to each other directly”, declared Olivier Véran at the end of the Council of Ministers.

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Emmanuel Macron said Friday he was ready to receive the inter-union to discuss work-related topics, but not pensions, once the Constitutional Council has ruled on the text of the law, a position reiterated on Tuesday by the door- government word. “We propose to discuss to move forward, not to go back on a law which has just been adopted”, asserted Olivier Véran.

This new dismissal, after Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to invite the unions while the bill was following its parliamentary course, angered Laurent Berger. “It’s unbearable that the answer is an end of inadmissibility,” stormed the leader of the CFDT before the start of the Paris demonstration. “We can’t say that we are being reached out,” he lamented.

The executive plays the watch

Commenting on the government’s intransigence, MP Charles de Courson, member of the Liot parliamentary group (Freedoms, Independents, Overseas Territories and Territories), at the origin of the motion of censure which was only rejected by nine votes the last week in the National Assembly, invited him to come out of his bubble. “Those in the majority who are counting on the situation to deteriorate should reflect on what is happening in Israel,” he snapped, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to resolve on Monday to pause his highly contested reform of justice after gigantic demonstrations.

The historically exceptional unity of the intersyndicale, which brings together the eight main workers’ unions and five youth organizations, is for the moment showing no sign of weakness, despite the hardening of the movement for which the two camps reject responsibility. While the operations of punches, blockades, filtering barriers and undeclared demonstrations have multiplied since the government’s recourse to article 49.3 of the Constitution to have its bill adopted without a vote in the National Assembly almost two weeks, there are fewer people in the street on Tuesday, compared to Thursday, by the admission of union officials.

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Fewer people but disruptions

On the other hand, the disruptions due to the strikes remained significant in transport, education, garbage collection and especially energy. Six of the seven French oil refineries were thus shut down or in reduced operation on Monday evening, which translates into supply difficulties at service stations. About 17% of the stations lacked at least one type of fuel on Tuesday morning at the national level, according to the Ministry of Energy, a figure which rises to 29% in the Paris region which was until now relatively spared by these difficulties. THERE

Another cause for concern for the executive, the rejuvenation of the protest movement, with the arrival in the processions of many students and high school students last week and more and more blockages of universities, about twenty Tuesday morning according to the UNEF student union. The attention of the public authorities was focused in the short term on the risk of clashes after the surge of violence which marked the previous day of mobilization, in Paris and in the provinces, which led in particular to the postponement of the State visit. of King Charles III.

New clashes between demonstrators and police took place this Tuesday in several “hot spots” of the protest, such as Rennes, Nantes or Rouen. In the afternoon, clashes also broke out in Paris, Bordeaux and Toulouse. Raising fears of a restless evening, especially in the capital, where 5,500 police and gendarmes were mobilized

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