France: The False Victory of the CFDT

While writing this article, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced the temporary and partial suspension of the age-axis of his Bill until the social parts reach an agreement.

Of course Laurent Berger and the CFDT trade union center do not need anything else, they immediately greeted “the retirement of the age-axis … a withdrawal that marks the will to compromise of the government.” And Berger warned that the CFDT “will continue discussions within the proposed framework to answer the remaining questions about the future universal regime.” The UNSA is no far behind and points to “a great advance”, evaluating that the exchange can “finally begin”.

But although the CFDT shouts that it “achieved” said withdrawal, it is nothing. In fact, Edouard Philippe specifies in the letter that he transmitted to the trade union organizations that “the Bill will stipulate that the future universal system includes an age of equilibrium.” What the government has suspended is, therefore, the short-term measure of progressive convergence (2022-2027) towards an age-axis at 64 years. That is why it is up to the “social parts” to agree on measures for financial balance and… a future age-axis to be determined! Otherwise, the government warned that it will legislate by decree.

The age-axis is the tree that covers the forest of demolition of the pension system by distribution. The age-axis is the distraction that allows Macron and his government to try to impose a universal point system, whose sole objective is to reduce pensions and extend employees´ working hours.

The Berger-Philippe farce that began on December 11 has just found its epilogue, as expected.

There is a well-known historical rule: the more the masses shift to the left, the more the apparatuses move to the right. What reaction is there on the side of the CGT-FO-FSU-SUD inter-union? On the 39th day of the longest strike since 1968, will Martinez and Veyrier finally break with the “social dialogue”? Will they finally call a renewable interprofessional strike until victory? No! Both prefer to continue participating in the “negotiations” to ensure that the prime minister listens to them! For Veyrier, the mobilization must continue until the presentation of the Bill in the Council of Ministers on January 24 and then, until April, during the parliamentary debate.

Meanwhile, decentralized days of action follow national actions, beginning on January 14, 15 and 16. These isolated day strikes only achieve one result: demoralization, retreat and, ultimately, defeat! And workers know it perfectly. Will the rank-and-file accept this?

Nothing is less certain, such as the UNSA union of the RATP (public transport) which, through a press release on January 11 recalled that the mobilization is aimed at the “total withdrawal of the reform project” and that the temporary suspension of the axis-age is just a “decoy”.

The crisis is still open, everything is possible.

The Commune, January 11, 2020