“It takes two to play!: a few days before the second round of the legislative elections, the CFDT is continuing its policy of reaching out to the executive, playing to the full the score of the reformist union on the occasion of its 50th Congress.
The first French union has been holding a congress since Monday and until Friday in Lyon, with the participation of some 1,600 delegates.
“We want to take our part in a real co-construction”, declared its secretary general Laurent Berger on Wednesday, in front of an audience of delegates.
After a first five-year term marked according to the social partners by the verticality of power, Emmanuel Macron promised during his campaign a “new method” of governance.
Re-elected, before the first round of the legislative elections, he launched the idea of a “National Council for Refoundation” bringing together political, economic, social and associative forces as well as elected representatives of the territories and citizens drawn by lot.
On Wednesday, Mr. Berger took the ball again, seeming to step over the second round of the legislative elections: “without naivety, with many proposals, with determination but also with strong demands, we are going to (…) register” in this CNR , he said.
Aware of the “reluctance” that such an attitude could cause in the ranks of the CFDT, while “the past five years have left traces, that the stigmata of contempt are still visible”, he laid down his conditions: “our requirement , it will be the loyalty of our interlocutors, of the government, its ability to listen and its willingness to compromise!”.
In the absence of real dialogue, the CFDT could enter into the “protest”, via “sectoral mobilizations” or “demonstrations”.
The N.1 of the first French union has again castigated the “empty chair” policy of its more dissenting rival, the CGT – the latter refused Friday to participate in a lunch at the Elysee Palace with Mr. Macron, seeing a “country lunch”.
This outstretched hand towards the executive is in line with the DNA of the Confederation: “the CFDT wants a trade unionism of results, useful to the workers”, underlined Mr. Berger.
The Confederation has suffered over the past five years from the lack of consideration of the public authorities, which had been a privileged partner of the Dutch governments.
“The past mandate was super hard”, summarizes the national secretary Yvan Ricordeau.
On Monday and Tuesday, the delegates succeeded one another on the podium to express their militant fatigue, between the reduction in the means granted to staff representatives following the Macron ordinances of 2017, and the lack of listening of employers vis-à-vis the wage demands.
On wages and working conditions, “employers have a responsibility to come to the negotiating table” at the risk of seeing the unions choose the path of “challenging”, warned Mr. Berger.
Asked about the Head of State’s plan to push back the retirement age to 65, Mr. Berger reaffirmed that the CFDT is “upwind”. “We will be in the street” if the project is put on the table, he warned.
The general resolution, setting the CFDT’s roadmap for the next four years, will be debated from Wednesday evening to Friday.
The debates concerning pensions should be particularly scrutinized, several amendments proposing to correct a formulation according to which “the extension of life expectancy can justify an increase in the average age of liquidation”.
Mr. Berger tried to defuse the rebellion, stressing that the draft resolution “says nothing more… but also nothing less than what the CFDT has been saying for at least twenty years”.
The vote on the resolution will take place on Friday. On Wednesday, Mr. Berger was able to savor the very broad approval of his activity report, with 89.5% of the vote (against 83.3% at the Rennes Congress in 2018).
15/06/2022 21:20:12 — Lyon (AFP) © 2022 AFP