Labor code, pensions, wages: the unions together call on the executive to weigh

While the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, is convening a social summit in ten days, the leaders of the five major confederations have taken up their pen to write to him. With Emmanuel Macron in copy. By displaying this unity, they intend to make themselves heard.

Yves Veyrier (FO), Laurent Berger (CFDT), Philippe Martinez (CGT) and François Hommeril (Cfe-Cgc) on July 17, 2020, at the end of the first social summit organized by Jean Castex in Matignon.

Not a signature is missing and it is in itself an event. This Wednesday, a letter initialed by the leaders of the five major union confederations went to Matignon. The Prime Minister, Jean Castex, is the addressee, but the letter written the day before on the occasion of an inter-union meeting by videoconference, specifies that a copy is sent to Emmanuel Macron.

Its publication a few hours before the televised intervention of the Head of State obviously owes nothing to chance, as does the fact that it takes place less than 15 days before the second social summit that the head of government will convene in Matignon, three months after the first.


Despite the scale of the crisis caused by the Covid-19 epidemic, several inter-union initiatives have already been launched but they have failed. Never until now, Laurent Berger, for the CFDT, Philippe Martinez, for the CGT, Yves Veyrier, for Force Ouvrière as well as François Hommeril, of the CFE-CGC, and Cyril Chabanier, of the CFTC, had thus taken the feather together. This reinforces the solemnity and the weight of the interpellation. “On Tuesday there was clearly the common will to take this act”, underlines one of the signatories.

The content of the mail also weighs since it does not avoid the subjects of inter-union annoyance. No risk of messing around on pension reform, of course, since “Whatever our analyzes and positions on the substance”, the five union leaders « affirm [ent] that the government should announce that the time is not to put the subject back on the agenda ”. But the simple fact of writing it together at the end of the mail “To close the door” on the subject – as a trade unionist said – will certainly raise the hair of certain activists at the CGT and Force Ouvrière. It is therefore a strong act which signifies to the executive the will of each other to overcome their disagreements in order to weigh more heavily.

Emergency for second-line employees

The initiative is also marked by the number of subjects raised. In an order that may surprise but “Attention has not focused so much on order as on the fact that everyone is found in each of the themes”, explains a participant in the meeting. At the top of the list is indeed the issue of social dialogue in companies, with the requirement to“A quick meeting on the evaluation of the consequences of work orders [de 2017] in order to restore the collective representation rights of employees up to the current challenges ”. Divided on the priority given to company negotiations, the CFDT supporting this axis of the reform of the Labor Code, the unions come together to note the insufficient resources for social dialogue on the ground.

Comes next, “While massive public aid measures are being implemented to support activity”, the requirement “Real commitments in return and checked for their effective implementation in the short, medium and long term ». The five leaders also ask Jean Castex for a “Emergency meeting devoted to the effective recognition of the essential role of employees in so-called second-line jobs”.

Recognition “Which must result without delay in an increase in wages, working conditions, employment and careers”. This demand is in addition to that, also already expressed by all of them, of an outright return to the old unemployment insurance rules.