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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’intersyndicale peaufine ses revendications

by Marion d’Allard

Trade Union Coordinating Committee Hones Demands

Translated Monday 13 January 2014, by Gene Zbikowski

The CGT, CFDT, UNSA and FSU trade union confederations have approved the principle of a joint list of proposals to meet the urgent social and economic situation. A text is to be published at the end of the week of Jan. 6.

While the final text will not be known before the end of the week, the approach has been officially adopted: the trade union coordinating committee (intersyndicale) of the CGT, CFDT, UNSA and FSU trade union confederations will put forward demands concerning jobs, purchasing power and tax policy. Meeting late in the day on Jan. 6, the four trade union organizations came to an agreement on the fundamental issue. This was the last phase in a series of meetings initiated several weeks ago by the CGT and the CFDT, which are concerned by the social and economic situation in the country and which believe that a strong trade union response is necessary.

Last December the CGT, CFDT, CFTC, FSU and UNSA announced a process of “comparing and contrasting analyses (which) aim at arriving at joint proposals on jobs, purchasing power and wage policy, tax policy and public financing, the public services, and finally on the European investment plan proposed by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).” At that time the five trade union confederations underlined their “desire to assume their full responsibility in a united way and to put forward concrete answers for the workers.”

Since then, much water has flowed under the bridges. The CFTC, initially engaged in the discussions, finally left in a huff, putting forward “divergences among the organizations,” among other things regarding family policy. “We are not co-signers of the text,” Joseph Thouvenel, the vice president of the Christian trade union confederation, declared at the end of the Jan. 6 meeting. For their part, the FO and CFE-CGC trade union confederations refused to sit down at the table from the very start.

On Jan. 6, the remaining organizations, the CGT, CFDT, UNSA and FSU, came to an agreement. “Their will be joint positions on investment in Europe, jobs, wage classifications, and the conditionality of tax aids and tax policy,” Véronique Descacq, the deputy general secretary of the CFDT, indicated. And, concerning the jobs issue, in the face of the failure of [French president François Hollande’s] “toolbox” of generation contracts, jobs for a future, etc., the trade union coordinating committee will likely demand the opening of new negotiations with the bosses.

It remains to be seen what the exact terms of this joint address will be, and above all, the position of the trade union coordinating committee on the responsibility pact proposed to the bosses by François Hollande. The CFDT and UNSA have already announced that they will ask for something by way of compensation for the workers. The CGT, which is planning a day of action for Feb. 6, has put forward as a pre-condition for the responsibility pact a demand for establishing the effectiveness of the existing government aid to companies, Mohamed Oussedik, the CGT secretary for industry, explained.

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