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Monday, March 20, 2023

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Pensions: the CFDT attitude

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Let’s taste the social-democratic moment… We thought France was condemned to paralyzing strikes, to the desperate assaults of the “yellow vests” and to populist recoveries. But now the most powerful social movement since 1995 is mobilizing en masse, calmly and behind union banners, employees from all walks of life, from both the public and private sectors. And not only in Paris, between Republic and Nation. Demonstrations against the Borne government’s pension reform project are taking place across the country. In Lille as in Nice, Marseille or Brest. As a proportion of the population, participation in processions is particularly massive in small towns. Never seen.

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« This movement resembles the CFDT”, summarizes Laurent Berger. Because the main surprise of this “all together against retirement at 64” is to see the central reformist impose itself at the forefront of the protest. By opting for age measurement – ​​financially effective but socially costly – Emmanuel Macron has crossed the continuous red line drawn by the CFDT since 1998, and awakened the first trade union in France.

In accordance with the mandate entrusted to him by the Lyon congress in June 2022, Laurent Berger has therefore provided the intersyndicale with valuable assistance. And a real strategy. Since the first day of the mobilization, he has relied on citizen pressure – and not on the blocking of the country – to make parliamentarians bend. And undertakes, whatever the outcome of the debate in the Assembly, to respect the institutions. This burst of social democracy will mark a milestone.

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Facing the street, Emmanuel Macron invokes the legitimacy of his presidential election in 2022 and the commitment he then made to postpone the retirement age. Not enough to impress Berger, who will never forget that the president had above all promised, from 2017, to implement the grand design of the CFDT: a systemic reform of the 42 French pension plans. A justice project finally abandoned in 2019 to the great regret of the left wing of the macronie.

The Cedtist leader also does not forgive the president’s contempt for trade unionism. Macron wanted to break with the “co-management” of the Holland era. He only pointed a former ally who is now jeopardizing the main initiative of his second five-year term.


At Matignon, Elisabeth Borne, former adviser to Jospin and ex-Minister of Labour, could have become the ideal partner for an agreement with the CFDT. Here she is forced to add up the costly concessions to try to secure the votes of a parliamentary right that overflows macronism by the left.

Ironically, the executive even had to rediscover the virtues of the 2014 pension reform. Concocted by another former Minister of Labor, Marisol Touraine, supported by the CFDT and adopted without making too many waves, of the contribution period to 43 annuities already contributes to lengthening most careers. At the CFDT, it is rumored that the acceleration of the device, already provided for by the government project, could make it possible to finance future deficits… Provided that the totem of “legal retirement age” is removed!

Cedtist pragmatism should also inspire Nupes. Laurent Berger agreed with Philippe Martinez, his counterpart of the CGT, to defeat the hegemonic claims of Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the social movement.

A supporter of union independence, the general secretary of the CFDT distrusts this French radical left which feeds on abstract ideals. Unlike British labor or northern European social democracy, it tends to cut itself off from socio-economic reality. Thus, the Nupes currently only offers an improbable return to retirement at age 60 from the Mitterrand years. By learning the lessons of the current mobilization, it could reconnect with the reformism it wrongly decried. And reconcile with the France of work. The one who recognizes herself in the CFDT.

Source : Nouvelobs

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