Unemployment insurance: “angry” and “disillusioned”, the unions seek the parade

Posted Nov 21, 2022, 6:52 PMUpdated Nov. 21, 2022, 6:56 p.m.

Tense atmosphere, this Monday morning, during the presentation by the Minister of Labor to the social partners of his reform of unemployment insurance. “Olivier Dussopt was as always concise and no one wanted to ask questions”, reports a trade unionist after the meeting which lasted less than two hours.

If it is well received by employers, the five representative trade union confederations have all already said and repeated all the evil they think of the modulation of the duration of compensation according to the economic situation. The project even gave rise to a joint declaration.

“Red carpet at the bosses”

At the end of the meeting, Michel Beaugas, of Force Ouvrière, expressed his “anger” against a reform which “will create enormous social problems”. “The government is rolling out the red carpet for employers,” denounced Denis Gravouil of the CGT, anticipating the proliferation of poor workers and precarious employment. “The executive is once again not providing any impact study”, lamented Jean-François Foucard, of the CFE-CGC, while Eric Courpotin, of the CFTC, disputed “a purely economic goal and nothing else “.

The unions are also “disillusioned”, says one of their representatives. “What is certain is that we will not mobilize the crowds easily,” adds another. There is of course the subject that does not take much to the streets. This is not new, and the unions do not plan for the specific time of day for mobilization. But there is also the fact that the government has finely calibrated the reform, both in terms of its scope and its timetable.

A fine calibration of the reform

On the field side, there is no question of reproducing the misadventure of the “recalculated”, these hundreds of thousands of job seekers who had seen their duration of compensation brutally reduced in 2004. The reform will only apply to new registrants. It will not apply either to the employees most likely to mobilize: dockers, intermittent workers or even workers from Overseas France with an eruptive social climate.

On the calendar side, the first reductions in the duration of compensation will apply in the middle of summer: they will concern people who registered as unemployed on 1er February, date of entry into force of the reform, and justifying 7 or 8 months of activity, which will see their compensation stop at the end of July, after 6 months and no longer 7 or 8.

“We will study all possible ways”, including the legal weapon, to counter the reform, promised Denis Gravouil at the exit of the Ministry of Labor, but he is “not very optimistic”. Against the previous reform, imposed on the social partners in 2019, but whose application had been partly postponed due to the Covid epidemic, the unions had used it with some success. But in the end, this did not prevent the entry into force of the entire system.

“Uncertain outcome” in the event of legal recourse

If the prospect is considered, the outcome is very uncertain, recognized the representative of the CGT. “The tracks are very tenuous”, judge for his part Jean-François Foucard. “To attack, it is still necessary that the decree be released, we will see when we have the text”, specifies Michel Beaugas, who recalls that before that, the Constitutional Council should be brought to pronounce on the law which has just been pass parliament on unemployment insurance.

If it is too early to know if, as on the 2019 reform, the unions will all go to court, the dialogue continues between them. Those responsible for the file in the confederations were to take stock this Monday at the end of the day, according to several sources.

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