Dialogue, finally? The unions who are determined to talk about pensions are expected at the beginning of next week at Matignon, an appointment with the executive, which has not been seen for weeks before a day of mobilization on April 6. In the aftermath of a 10th day of action less extensive and also less chaotic than expected, the two parties give each other a little air to ease the tension with the prospect of this meeting, while the conflict in the street has entered in its third month. From there to consider a way out of the crisis? There is a long way to go and the inter-union has planned an 11th day of action on April 6.
On Tuesday March 28, the Ministry of the Interior counted 740,000 demonstrators throughout France, including 93,000 in Paris, the CGT “more than 2 million” including 450,000 in the capital. In the meantime, the unions have an appointment with Elisabeth Borne. Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday? The date has not yet been decided but “we will go”, revealed the number 1 of the CFDT Laurent Berger on TMC on Tuesday evening, visibly not unhappy with this little twist. “We will go. We talked about it between us. Yes, we collectively think that we have to go there to carry our proposals”, declared Laurent Berger. “Including” the proposal for mediation in the harsh pension dispute, the hypothesis of which had however been swept away by Olivier Véran during the day. Matignon confirmed the invitation but made no comment on its agenda. “What is certain is that we will go and discuss pensions. And work because it goes with it, but (above all) pensions!” Insisted Laurent Berger.
Questioned in the process, unions seemed to qualify the assertions of Laurent Berger. “We still need to discuss it in the inter-union”, argued the co-delegate of Solidaires, Murielle Guilbert. “It requires a discussion between us beforehand”, also says François Hommeril, president of the CFE-CGC. While the decision of the Constitutional Council on the pension reform is expected within three weeks, and against a backdrop of rising violence, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, promised this weekend to “put some appeasement”.
The CGT equation
At the Elysée, where Emmanuel Macron received the executives of the majority and the government on Monday, the head of state said he wanted to “continue to reach out to the union forces”, but on other subjects than pensions, according to one participant. And the executive to stand firmly on its position: the reform which provides for the postponement of the legal retirement age from 62 to 64 will apply. The heart of his project. Also that of protest. Through the voice of Olivier Véran, its spokesperson, the government again dismissed at the end of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, the hypothesis of a pause in the application of the reform. A member of the majority, the Modem did not say no to the idea of mediation.
According to Olivier Véran, nothing prevents “in the interval” from the decision of the Constitutional Council, “to begin to discuss the methods of application of the various elements of the text” which regularly sends more than a million people in the streets since two months. If they do take place, will the reunion between government and unions only stage a dialogue of the deaf?
Another given of the equation, the inter-union and the executive will have to do with a new direction of the CGT whose 53rd congress in Clermont-Ferrand takes place in a stormy atmosphere for the outgoing secretary general Philippe Martinez. The confederation is on a volcano and orientations such as the election of or, more likely, the new No. 1, could lead to a “more offensive” CGT.