Faced with growing inflation, Bruno Le Maire called on companies on Monday, during a meeting in Bercy, to increase wages. “Companies that can raise salaries must raise salaries,” the minister said after the meeting. , because of the price of gasoline, he added.

“The return of inflation is a source of concern and anxiety, of anguish for millions of compatriots”, underlined Bruno Le Maire, while the rise in consumer prices reached 4.8% over a year in April. Addressing the bosses, he wished “that, all together, we can provide answers to this”, while rejecting “general increases, everywhere, decided by the administration” because “this is not how that works “.

“The response to inflation must be equitably shared (…) This cannot rest solely on the State”, further pleaded the minister, renewed Friday in his functions within the government of Elisabeth Borne. He recalled the measures already taken during the previous five-year period to protect the purchasing power of households, such as the energy shield, as well as the commitments of President Emmanuel Macron which will be the subject of a bill presented to the Council of Ministers. before the legislative elections of June 12 and 19.

Echoing this, the president of the Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CPME), François Asselin, who had rejected in the morning on franceinfo any “uniform salary increase”, underlined the reduced room for maneuver of many companies. “A company can only distribute what it earns (…). The principle of reality imposes itself on it,” he said.

“We have companies that are weakened, so we have to be careful, not to handicap the future, which is uncertain”, added Dominique Métayer, president of the Union of local businesses (U2P). Employer representatives also highlighted the efforts already made.

Faced with recruitment tensions, “many companies have made individual increases” in wages, assured François Asselin. In addition, “about 50% of VSEs/SMEs have paid their employees the Macron bonus” created at the end of 2018, tax-free and the maximum amount of which should triple during the five-year term, according to a campaign promise from President Macron. To encourage more companies to take the plunge, François Asselin suggested that the government authorize them to pay the premium in several instalments, so as to circumvent any temporary cash flow difficulties.

On franceinfo the deputy president of Medef, Patrick Martin, pleaded for “profit-sharing schemes, bonuses”. They must “make it possible to find a compromise solution that satisfies everyone and does not put companies in difficulty over time”. To restore purchasing power to employees, the co-president of the Movement of medium-sized enterprises (METI) Frédéric Coirier told him to bet on the announced reduction in production taxes.

“We must return to the (European) average, to restore the margins of our companies. From the moment they have margins, they invest, they create jobs and they can increase the remuneration of employees,” he explained. A return to the continental average which, according to him, would be equivalent to 35 billion euros in lower production taxes. That is five times more than the 7 billion in production taxes that the executive has undertaken to eliminate by abolishing the contribution on the added value of companies.

Businesses are also concerned about rising costs related to factors other than wages. “We are seeing our raw material supply prices skyrocket, energy first. And when you can’t pass on the selling prices, it’s complicated, “explained the boss of the CPME.