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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Salaires: les fonctionnaires mobilisés le 31 mai

by Fanny Doumayrou

Wages: Civil Servants to Mobilize on May 31

Translated Saturday 14 May 2011, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

All eight civil service trade union confederations are calling for strikes and demonstrations to protest against the wage freeze for civil servants for 2012.

Two successive lean years is too much. The inter-trade union committee in the civil service, which met in Paris on the evening of May 5, and which brings together eight civil service trade union confederations (CGT, CFDT, CFTC, CGC, FO, FSU, UNSA, and Solidaires), has decided on a day of action on wages on May 31.

This is a protest against the wage freeze for 2012, which the government announced on April 19. After a ridiculous 0.5 point increase in the wage schedule in 2010, the schedule point, which is used to calculate the pay of 5.2 million civil servants in the civil service of the state, the civil service of local governments, and the civil service of public hospitals, was frozen in 2011. In their joint declaration, the trade union organizations “condemn the austerity policy regarding wages, which is worsening even more a situation marked by job cuts and deteriorating working conditions.” They “condemn the absence of real wage negotiations, which should at least have permitted the maintenance of civil servants’ purchasing power,” at a time when, according the French bureau of statistics, the INSEE, the rate of inflation is close to 2%.

On the other side, it comes as no surprise that the Minister of the Budget and the Civil Service, François Baroin, is arguing that the schedule point is only one of the elements affecting civil servants’ income, which can also benefit from bonuses and job category measures. This means targeted income hikes, from which most civil servants will be excluded… “Only an increase in the schedule point can truly compensate inflation and ensure a real wage increase,” the inter-trade union committee says, indicating that civil service salaries have fallen by 10% over the past ten years. For its part, the government says that civil service purchasing power has increased by 10% since 2007.

The May 31 day of mobilization is to take the form of rallies, demonstrations and strikes. The CGT says it is satisfied that strikes are mentioned in the joint declaration, whereas Solidaires has already indicated that it will file a preliminary strike notice for May 31.

For more information: Pouvoir d’achat: la fonction publique "smicardisée"

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