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A first lively debate on the reform of unemployment insurance

The National Assembly returned to school on Monday. And for the occasion, the Palais-Bourbon immediately found itself at the heart of lively debates. It must be said that on Monday evening the government defended its controversial bill that initiates a new reform of the unemployment insurance fund. After a debate on Ukraine in the afternoon, at the opening of the ordinary session, deputies continued in the evening with this “emergency” text in a fairly full semicircle, where skirmishes continued.

The bill initially allows for the extension of the current unemployment insurance rules from Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term. The text also triggers the possibility, by decree, to modulate this insurance so that it is “stricter when too many jobs are unfilled, more generous when unemployment is high”, in the words of the head of state during the presidential election campaign.

Planned entry into force in early 2023

“We need to get out of false debates and caricatures: encouraging working people to find a job a little faster than today – where there are many opportunities – is not to shame them, make them feel guilty or alleging that some are “taking advantage of the system”, Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt launched at the kick-off in a noisy atmosphere. After a consultation phase of six to eight weeks with the social partners, the government will decide by decree what form this gradation of the unemployment insurance must take, to come into force on the 2023.

The management insists that it is urgent, in light of recruitment difficulties, and makes this reform one of the conditions for reaching the goal of full employment by 2027, i.e. an unemployment rate of around 5% compared to 7.4% currently. The current unemployment insurance is “one of the most generous in Europe”, repeated Olivier Dussopt during Nupe’s protests.

The LFI group unsuccessfully defended a proposal for the prior rejection of the text, with the voice of Hadrien Clouet unleashing his blows against a “brutal project”, accompanied by a request from the government for “full powers”. “Everyone is afraid of the coming months, and here” is launched “the great hunt for the unemployed and the great sale of wages”, criticized the representative for Haute-Garonne. “We want stable rights”, added communist Pierre Dharréville.

Concessions to LR

RN MPs supported the rejection motion despite protests from some on the left. “This reform is unfair”, supported Kévin Mauvieux on behalf of the group led by Marine Le Pen, while acknowledging that he does not “agree with the remedy” against unemployment in Nupes. “The national priority and economic patriotism will bring employment back to France”, according to him.

The elected LRs, for their part, consider that the text does not go far enough in tightening the rules for the a-kassen, but should support it or at least abstain from voting, which will make it possible to adopt the text, despite the majority. to macronists. Olivier Dussopt has also made proposals from the court to tighten access to compensation due to “after abandonment” or to simplify the validation of acquired experience (VAE), especially for caregivers, another aspect of the bill.

In the event of a blockage, Borne has “tools to move forward”

On Monday, the evening session recalled certain summer hours during the first steps of the new assembly. The clamor was at its height when environmentalist Sandrine Rousseau spoke: “If you want full employment, divide the work, make the four-day week,” she launched into the majority amid a click of the desk. The president of the deputies LFI Mathilde Panot shared a point of order to deplore this “show off”, especially under the intervention of left-wing women: “This sexism is not acceptable in the National Assembly”.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne had earlier received the majority parliamentarians in Matignon to tell them of her “confidence”: “We are ready, we have a method and a will”, she assured them, according to reported comments. . And to add: In the event of a deadlock, “the Constitution gives us tools to move forward”. The bill is on the menu in the Palais-Bourbon until Wednesday, before it is passed in the Senate on October 25.

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