World News: French Workers Face Troubled Times As Negotiations Fail

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The failure of the negotiations between the salaried and the employers' unions pushes the State to settle the dispute. And the situation to question this systematic recourse to the public power in case of disagreement while the same state is regularly accused of all the evils.

Naturally, no one expected the employee and employer social partners to separate on the basis of failure and misunderstanding in the renegotiation of unemployment insurance. Nobody but certainly it will be necessary to find a way out of the impasse, issue which in the state is called the Government. Because once again, it is the State and its first representatives that will return the task of giving birth to a solution.

Strange paradox in these troubled times when the Government, often decried, and with him the President of the Republic, for his attitude deemed anachronistic and disconnected from the reality experienced by the vast majority of French, is called to the rescue to resolve the case sensitive unemployment insurance.

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Sensitive because it embodies almost on its own, that of Social Security is just as much, the strength and power of the welfare state, the one to which the French are viscerally attached.

Model and Claims

The welfare state, this system allowing after the levy of various taxes, taxes and other charges, to redistribute the funds collected, has become synonymous with the functioning of the French model. Often criticized, accused of squandering the funds entrusted to him, the welfare state remains plebiscite by the French and placed under the protection of successive governments.

Paradox still, because the French often accused of tacit individualism or of solidarity of circumstance according to their political mood of the moment, always elected presidents of the Republic or gave their blank-seing to a government on the ultimate condition that these protect the Welfare state.

Some evil spirits will not hesitate to affirm that this model, envied by many countries in the world, become more or less the functioning system of the members of the European Union, is the object of a calculated deviation, result of malicious profiteers.

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Unfounded accusation that contrasts with a different reality, that of a country attached to its model, which defends it against all odds, certainly by criticizing it sometimes harshly hard without challenging it so as to regenerate it.

And proof is, to entrust the future of unemployment insurance to the state to allow the device to get out of the rut is both a sign of confidence, that some will judge relative, in the Government, so institutions and those who serve it, but also the guarantee that the job-seekers' compensation model will not be held hostage to partisan claims or blockages.

Strange paradox indeed that this recourse to the state when often, let's repeat it, this one is considered too present, too vampirisant, too much greedy, ... In short!

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All the adjectives would not suffice and yet the reality is there: In case of impasse it is the State which is asked for its effectiveness in the decision and its neutrality in the responsibilities to assume.

God and the State

Does this mean that the French have become inseparable from their model of functioning, that without the state they are nothing? The American journalist Ted Stanger had theorized in one of his books (Sacrés Français! An American looks at us, 2004) with a touch of humor and a benevolent irony tinged with realism that Franco-French reflex of ultimate recourse to the State by explaining that the French had replaced God by the state. Revolutionary legacy and dechristianization, no doubt.

But as powerful as it may be, let's remember also to weight the maxim of the American journalist that of Lionel Jospin, former and then Prime Minister, who affirmed in 1997, during the establishment of a heavy social plan at the car manufacturer Renault to Steenvoorde that "the state could not do everything".

Here, in this case and in the case of unemployment insurance, he can play the mediators by implementing the decrees of application that will prove necessary.

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But make no mistake. Under the effects of an increasingly greedy and cruel globalization, the public authorities are in danger of being emancipated from the guardianship of states considered too invasive and of citizens losing their bearings ready to sacrifice the notion of community embodied by the state for the benefit of the individual interest, losing its aura and influence. And if that were the case, all of us would lose because the state is us ...


Bio: Olivier Longhi has an extensive background in European History, a seasoned journalist with fifteen years' experience, he is currently a professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held varies positions within the publishing field including head of agency and chief of publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, columnist and editorial project manager he has trained and directed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant and communication consultant.


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