Will the social partners stay in the passenger seat or take the wheel? While the government presented a new reform of the unemployment insurance on Monday 21 November, the trade unions are wondering about the – more and more limited – leeway they have, together with the employers, within these measures. They fear being relegated to a subordinate position vis-à-vis the state, which has become almost omnipotent.
In ordinary times, employers’ and employees’ organizations set the parameters for compensation for the unemployed within the framework of collective agreements concluded after negotiations between them. They are also responsible for managing the system through an association: Unédic. This is called “joint management”. The executive board has, of course, always occupied a place that is as important as it is discreet: for the conventions to apply, the Ministry of Labor must give its approval, which makes it possible to“control the content and, if necessary, play the balance of power”, deciphers Jean-Pascal Higelé, sociologist at the University of Lorraine. In addition, the public authorities provide their financial guarantee to Unédic when the latter borrows money to compensate for deficits.
But the state has increased its influence in recent years. In 2019, it tightened the conditions for access to the scheme, while changing the rules for calculating the allowance, which resulted in a reduction in the monthly amount paid to certain unemployed people. In addition, a law adopted in September 2018 requires that the social partners must follow a framework letter when discussing the content of an agreement.
“We are moving from parity to tripartism”
The reform unveiled on Monday by Olivier Dussopt, the labor minister, expands this fundamental movement. Fulfilling a campaign promise by Emmanuel Macron, it will notably have the effect of extending the duration of compensation for jobseekers whose employment contract expired from 1eh February 2023. Mr. Dussopt specified that he would soon contact employers’ and workers’ organizations to negotiate “management” unemployment insurance: “This will be an opportunity to reassess the place of joint action, the place of the state, the place of parliament [dans le système] »he said.
The minister also stated that the unions and employers will start negotiations at the end of 2023 on the terms of compensation: the “want to reclaim their rights that we share”, he added. But the protagonists will have to comply with the principle of graduation, which is now legislated, which varies the duration of the payment of the allowance according to the financial situation. Sir. Dussopt even mentioned scenarios with even stricter parameters in the event that unemployment would fall “4.5% or 5%” (compared to 7.3% today).
You have 49.34% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.