the Government social equation is complicated

April 7, 2012 12:00 AM
 the Government social equation is complicated

Three weeks after the massive strike against the reform of the special pension plans (SNCF, RATP, EDF, GDF, etc.), the Government social equation is complicated. The homes of discontent are mounting: universities, officials, judiciary, etc. A new "Black Wednesday" announcement in transportation. And everything suggests that rail turbulence will continue until November 20, date at which officials decided to strike on the purchasing power.

In the Executive Branch, is decisive. "Which is played for Nicolas Sarkozy, it is the ability to demonstrate that he is reformer, while for many trade unions, there is the idea that it is the last step before quitting many things", says an adviser to the President, emphasizing the "symbolic" aspect that there is for each part in the arms of iron.

The Elysee Palace and the Government follow the situation more closely, with daily meetings and a strategy based on two principles: remain firm on the special schemes, attempting to clear the other conflicts in order to avoid that only snaps a phenomenon of contagion as it had in 1995. Last week, Nicolas Sarkozy dropped the ballast to the fishers before more comprehensive measures on purchasing power; Valérie Pécresse has provided EUR 11 million for student housing, the UMP has suggested to the elect that the removal of their court would "offset".

Farm on pensions

On pensions on the other hand, the Executive is particularly firm, starting with the Prime Minister which has reinsured, yesterday, in the "JDD", that nothing would be dropped and that he did not "fear". This determination is based on the certainty that the French have seen recent gestures granted by the Government and especially that they adhere not combat of the demonstrators. "A democracy, it is the citizen and the voter who speak", said Friday night Nicolas Sarkozy, satisfied to have the opinion with him.

Xavier Bertrand, Minister of labour, remains, manoeuvring branches of business and trade unions. His goal: confine the movement in 24 hours in EDF and GDF and the RATP, which Presidents have been asked to make more efforts to lure the unions. And continue to divide the Union front at the SNCF, after the defection of self-employed drivers (FGAAC). Is thus, the company now on the table hard and cash counterparties to reform (read below).

But the frontal opposition between Xavier Bertrand and Bernard Thibault, for forty-eight hours, with messages of Matignon, rise the voltage and do not facilitate the task of trade unions prepared to discuss. The leader of the CGT wrote to the Minister of labour, Friday, to reiterate its request for a "tripartite meeting" (Government, trade unions, business) on all special regimes, to "work to an outcome of the ongoing conflict". With some skill, since he did not forward the 40 years of contributions, focusing its demands on taking account of the hardship and premiums in the calculation of pensions.

The Minister of labour sent estoppel, wishing the other unions to not such a meeting, which, according to him, "is not effective, considering that the points of view on the principles of the reform, including the transition to 40 annuities, are very far, in particular of the CGT, which is clearly expressed opposite". Noting that "all occupational categories are not treated with the same brutality", Bernard Thibault concludes that the Government "wants the conflict for the example". That is not far to believe the CFDT, which criticized both the CGT his risky strategy of blocking. In this "ping-pong" between the CGT and the Government, each returns the responsibility of a conflict which recognizes Xavier Bertrand, "can last." If the participation, on Wednesday, should be lower that the last time SNCF tries to put in place 1 3 TGV, while very few had circulated on 18 October the true test will be rate of strikers the next day.