“She listens but she does not hear”: like the general secretary of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, most union officials judge the new Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne open to discussion but often too reluctant to deviate from her line.

“I rubbed shoulders with her as Minister of Labour. It’s rough, sometimes, in the confrontation. It will probably be necessary to make an effort to listen and co-construct more”, underlined the secretary general of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, on France 2 on Monday, before his official appointment.

For Yves Veyrier, his FO counterpart, “he’s someone who is tough in business”. “We measured it on the reform of unemployment insurance (entry into force in October 2021, editor’s note). It imposed it against all our arguments. The five confederations were opposed to this reform. It is something “one who (…) knows his files well and who is difficult to convince”, he underlined on BFM Business.

For Mr. Veyrier, Mrs. Borne is in the image of these “great state clerks who, when they are convinced of the merits of their decision, find it difficult to understand, to hear that one can have other points of view and that they deserve to be heard”.

CFTC President Cyril Chabanier talks about someone “pleasant and constructive” and who “knows what he wants”. “Speech is always sincere, when you make a proposal or a request, it doesn’t beat around the bush for 20 years, you have an answer, which you like or don’t like, but at least you come away with an answer” , he told RMC.

Another reform carried out by Ms. Borne, when she was Minister of Transport, that of the SNCF, in 2018, which notably resulted in the opening up of passenger transport to competition. Fabien Dumas, federal secretary SUD-Rail, keeps a memory tinged with bitterness.

“She’s a techno, she has a perfect knowledge of the files, we were pleasantly surprised by her knowledge of railway subjects, but on the other hand, she comes with a mission and she does not step aside. She does not move , it unrolls. You can develop the best arguments in the world, it will not move,” he told AFP.

“She summons all the trade unions, she takes the time (…) We said to ourselves here is someone who is listening, but the social dialogue Borne way is: I receive you, I listen to you but I don’t care,” he said.

For Didier Mathis, secretary general Unsa railway, Ms. Borne is a “good soldier”. “It will be Macron’s boot, she has her finger on the seam and she will apply what Macron tells her to apply”, he tackles.

As for the CGT des Cheminots, it did not take tweezers, in a press release on Tuesday. “The anti public services enter Matignon station (…) England had Margaret Thatcher. France now has Elisabeth Borne”, she lambasted.

On the employers’ side, we partly share the reservations expressed by the unions. “She has a certain authority, – but I believe that it is necessary in these functions -, and she listens, that’s for sure, but we don’t know if she still hears”, commented the deputy president of Medef Patrick Martin on BFM Business on Tuesday.

05/17/2022 16:18:23 –         Paris (AFP) –         © 2022 AFP