Unions and employers had negotiated, Tuesday, March 28, the measures of an acceptable compromise on the unemployment insurance convention. The CFDT, CFTC, FO and CFE-CGC delegations deemed the agreement “balanced”.
The CFTC announced on Friday that it was in turn validating, after the CFDT and Force Ouvrière, the draft unemployment insurance agreement on which the social partners agreed on Tuesday. The deal was finalized shortly before 10 p.m.
“The CFTC considers that the method used by the social partners during this negotiation has made it possible to find a consensus in order to perpetuate the unemployment insurance scheme”, can we read in a press release from the union.
The CFDT, CFTC, FO and CFE-CGC delegations deemed the agreement “balanced”, as did those of the employers’ organizations Medef, CPME and U2P. “Each device seems balanced to us,” argued Véronique Descacq of the CDFT. For Michel Baugas, of FO, “the latest advances made by employers tend towards a balance of the agreement”. “We are going to send a fairly strong message to the next government,” rejoiced Éric Courpetin of the CFTC. For his part, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve welcomed, late in the evening, a “responsible agreement”, which according to him illustrates the virtues of “compromise” and “social democracy”.
The CGT for its part criticized “a text against women, precarious workers and seniors!” in a statement Wednesday. Her negotiator, Denis Gravouil, hinted Tuesday that she would not sign.
It was indeed crucial for the social partners to succeed while several presidential candidates want to question their management. , while his challenger François Fillon wants to strictly frame the terms of the negotiation. Even if the teams of En Marche! assure that the signing of an agreement will not change anything in the program of their candidate, the social partners want to believe that they have scored points.
As soon as they entered the Medef headquarters on Tuesday morning, the negotiators, with the exception of the CGT, explained that an agreement seemed possible to them (our editions of March 27 and 28). Discussions moved forward at a brisk pace. During the day, employers will have reworked their copy three times, each time getting closer to union demands.
Temporary increase in the employer’s contribution
To find an agreement, the employers had taken a first important step by accepting a general, but temporary, increase in the employer’s contribution of 0.05 points. An effort that would bring 270 million euros in revenue per year to the plan and would bring the employer contribution to 4.05% of gross salary. And a strong symbol when Pierre Gattaz had made any increase in the cost of labor a red line.
The Medef ultimately decided on this solution because the line initially defended by Alexandre Saubot, the head of the social center at the Medef and president of the UIMM, of a sectoral modulation of contributions turned out to be studied legally fragile.
On the “senior sector”, the Medef has further softened its copy. It offers compensation of 36 months from the age of 55 and 30 months from the age of 53
The Medef executive committee had validated this increase on Monday, guaranteed by an equivalent parallel reduction in AGS contributions, a scheme that companies manage alone and which is responsible for paying employees of companies in difficulty their salaries and severance pay. In the end, for employers, the operation is therefore neutral. Even paying, since the increase in contributions is limited in time, while the reduction in the AGS contribution is permanent. For Denis Gravouil, of the CGT, “it’s a virtual effort. In the end, employers will even gain, since there is removal of part of the 2013 surcharge on short contracts.
This point, inherited from a previous agreement, was settled in the evening. As demanded by the signatory unions, the Medef agreed to keep the taxation on fixed-term contracts for use for eighteen months. At the same time, the branches are encouraged to start negotiations in order to reduce the use of short contracts in their sector.
On the “senior sector”, the social partners have agreed to postpone the compensation by 36 months from the age of 55, a level at 30 months opening at 53 years old. The methods for calculating the rights to compensation of people who work part-time have been further clarified, in order to avoid windfall effects. This agreement should generate approximately 900 million in annual savings, excluding the increase in the employer’s contribution.
According to calculations by Unedic, the organization managing unemployment insurance, the measures decided on will make it possible to make nearly 900 million euros in savings in total at cruising speed, to which will be added some 270 million in revenue.
Enough to reduce the chronic deficit of this system, co-managed by unions and employers for nearly 60 years, whose cumulative debt reached 30 billion euros at the end of 2016.