A majority of unions shun the launch of Macron’s CNR

Posted Sep 7, 2022, 6:14 AMUpdated on Sep 7, 2022 at 6:27 am

Change of foot, this Tuesday morning, of the three major associations of elected officials. That of the Mayors of France, that of the Regions of France as well as the Assembly of the departments of France finally decided to participate in the meeting to launch the National Council for Refoundation. Semi-victory for the Head of State after the oppositions definitively declined his invitation like the President of the Senate, Gérard Larcher. He will have wet the shirt for this, during a meeting on Monday, during which he undertook to start again on new bases with the associations of local elected officials with whom he often had conflicting relations during his first five-year term.

There was no meeting upstream, however, with the unions whose ranks will be sparse on Thursday. We expected it, the CGT announced on Tuesday that it will not go, like the FSU, Solidaires being also absent. “You are continuing the approach that has been yours for five years consisting in convening us within extremely short deadlines without detailing the scope, the participants invited, the methods and form, or the expectations of this meeting”, denounces its number one, Philippe Martinez, in a letter to the Head of State.

The surprise came from the CFE-CGC

The rumor had been buzzing about it for a few days, Force Ouvrière will also shun the meeting of the CNR. FO explains in a press release that it has “always contested the attempts to dilute the unions in a form of so-called participatory democracy which competes with parliamentary democracy and assimilates the social partners to the legislator”. But it was on the side of the CFE-CGC that the surprise came. Its president, François Hommeril, will not make the trip either. The decision was taken “unanimously” by his national office, he clarified to “Echos”, castigating the attitude of the executive on unemployment insurance as well as the methods of organization of the meeting. which he describes as a “coup de com”.

The Elysée seeks to minimize these defections although only the “small” CFTC and UNSA will be present alongside the CFDT. And if the latter believes that she cannot not go after denouncing the verticality of Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term, the leader of the first French union, Laurent Berger, approaches the meeting with suspicion. He explained a few days ago that he “will judge by action”.

Minimize no-shows

“Thursday is the meeting place for those who wish to move forward in the dialogue to try to overcome the challenges facing the country and meet the expectations of the French people” and they will be “very numerous and sufficiently diverse to reflect the whole points of view “, we explain in the entourage of Emmanuel Macron. The same judges that “it is a bit paradoxical to say that we do not come on the grounds that we have not been listened to enough in previous years [alors que] the President of the Republic, after having met [les partenaires sociaux] in June and July, said precisely that he took this remark into account and that we were going to work together differently on the method”.

“We have not seen that the policy of the empty chair advances the files nor resolves the difficulties on the themes at the heart of the concerns of the French”, further advances the Elysée which specifies however that the exchanges of Thursday will be “a point departure” and that “the door will always be open to those who for various reasons did not wish to come this Thursday.

The same circumspection

On the side of the unions, the participation or not in the launch of the CNR is in any case not a source of division or even of friction. Difficult, therefore, for the executive to drive a wedge. On the contrary, the centers are multiplying the meetings of 7 to which are added the youth organizations. Online on pensions, all confederations share the same circumspection vis-à-vis Emmanuel Macron’s change of tone and none digests the unemployment benefit reform project that the government is preparing. And this in a social climate that remains uncertain, but imbued with a dull anger that does not escape them.

In July, all employee organizations had agreed on a joint declaration on purchasing power. This Monday, they agreed to do the same on unemployment insurance and it’s not over: a new meeting is already scheduled for October 4. Unheard of for a long time.

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