Pensions: the tone rises while waiting for Macron’s wishes

After 25 days of a bogged down pension conflict, the tone hardens between the CGT and the executive, and eyes turn to the greetings speech of Emmanuel Macron Tuesday 31, strikers as the opposition awaiting an initiative of the Head of State.

More than ten thousand people gathered again Saturday against the reform everywhere in France. And the strike in transport continues, especially in Ile-de-France.

On Sunday, the SNCF plans 4 TER out of ten, 6 TGV out of 10 and 1 Transilien out of 5. Thirteen metro lines out of sixteen will be closed in Paris before a “significant improvement” promised by the RATP for Monday.

While no negotiations are scheduled before January 7, the cégétiste leader Philippe Martinez accuses in the Journal du Dimanche the government of organizing “the brothel” and playing “the rotting” of a social movement already longer than that of 1995.

“They said to themselves + we’re going to stick the ultimatums to them during the Christmas holidays +. Emmanuel Macron wants to be the man of the new world, but he imitates Margaret Thatcher”, he pings: “he said he had changed, that he was ready to listen … Where is the actII of the quinquennium? “.

In the same JDD, the Secretary of State for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari accuses the CGT of practicing “blocking” or even “intimidation” unionism, and denounces “an abnormal pressure exerted on part of the railroad workers “to participate in the movement.

The president has been almost silent on the conflict for weeks, leaving his Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on the front line. He contented himself from Côte d’Ivoire with a vain call to “truce” for Christmas and announced that he was giving up his pension as president, before retiring to Brégançon.

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He thus spares himself a possible shooting window on the 31st to unblock the situation, unless he opts for the showdown, at the risk of radicalizing the opponents.

– Conflicting messages –

He is particularly expected on a possible adjustment of the pivotal age of 64, “red line” for the CFDT, as inflexible to request his withdrawal as Edouard Philippe to maintain it.

The measure was not part of Emmanuel Macron’s initial plan for a universal retirement system. She was not on her program. He even declared himself hostile at the end of August, before being convinced by his Prime Minister and other supporters of savings on pensions.

The Elysee Palace had also mentioned in mid-December possible “improvements around the pivotal age”, which Matignon was immediately irritated.

This president convinced of the virtues of pedagogy may also want to try to better explain a point system that confuses the French. At the end of November, he joked about a “strange” protest “against a reform the exact terms of which we do not know”, a short phrase which only increased mistrust.

Hammering again that it is only a question of abolishing the special regimes risks not being sufficient, while a majority of French people still support the strikers. And that the government has preserved the military and granted exemptions to the police, then to the pilots or dancers of the Opera, in particular.

His silence let his troops send contradictory messages. As between Aurore Bergé, spokesperson for LREM, who says to the strikers “you will get nothing” and Olivia Grégoire, vice-president of the finance committee, who predicts “several billion” of “concessions” from the government.

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– Flexible pivot age? –

The opposition also expects an initiative from it. The left asked him to withdraw his reform during his vows. The right, through the voice of the group of LR deputies to the Assembly Damien Abad, demands “clarifications” and insists on taking into account the arduousness, a possible lever for negotiations.

“On December 31, the president will pledge to continue his fight, stay above the fray and let his government run. It is a rotten strategy” by the resumption of talks on January 7, Damien predicts Albessard, communications advisor. “The government can wait but from January 10 the railroad workers will no longer receive their wages. We can witness a radicalization of some of them,” he warned.

“Everything floats in the Walkers. The only way out of the crisis is for the chief to speak on the 31st,” said analyst Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet. “And that it announces something, like the great debate or a suspension of the reform. It could also empty it of its content, or even withdraw or modulate the pivotal age, in order to be able to pass the essential of its vision”.

It will be the second time that the Head of State will have to pronounce his vows during a social crisis. Last year, he faced the anger of the “yellow vests”. But after dropping 10 billion euros in aid and renouncing the disputed fuel tax.

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