World News: France Confronts Social Unrest Over Pension Reform

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The social tensions linked to the pension reform and the risks of paralysis of the country are once again raising the idea that the possibility of a solution may be found through negotiation rather than demonstration.

Often praised, even admired, may in the end rarely, or awkwardly, imitated, the German model could in these times of social tensions linked to pension reform, be very useful. Through the art of consultation and compromise, inherited from a long trade union and professional history born in the nineteenth century, Germany knows how to avoid heavy industrial conflicts such as those of the that are looming in France.


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In France, the thurifers of the demonstration, whose scale is intended both to impress and to push successive governments to give in to the demonstrators, are struggling to adopt this culture of   negotiation judged with suspicion and always considered favorable to the initiators of the contested reforms. The France, a bloody country, has always preferred revolt to discussion.

Trade Union Action

Our history testifies to this with in many memories, the happy consequences resulting from the occupation of the factories and the strikes of 1938. Admittedly, this history, which remains engraved in the annals of the trade unions, is still erected as an untouchable totem.


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And rightly so because other major   strike movements, especially those of 1995 and 2006, respectively against the pension reform to dismantle the special regimes proposed by Alain's government Juppé and that of the First Employment Contract of Dominique de Villepin's government, pushed the governments in  place to give in. However, is the mass confrontation still productive? The question can arise without necessarily prejudicing trade union action.

Thus, start a negotiation process with the government with not only all the representative trade union organizations but also all the representatives of the professional branches Whether or not they are affiliated to any one organization would make it possible to address the difficulties encountered by each profession.

The process, admittedly long and complex, would also have the merit of involving in the negotiations all the ministries potentially concerned, as well as   the representatives of   SMEs / VSEs, would make it possible to engage in substantive wage negotiations in all sectors while analyzing, with proposals at the key, the expectations of each sector of activity.


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Romanticism and Big Night

Some, supporters of a frank opposition designed to bend the government, would sweep away this idea by favoring the status quo for various reasons: history of past trade union struggles, multiplicity of Profiles to consider,... All these questions are obviously valid and audible, but do they still have a reason to exist when the central nerve of the pension system, namely demography, is at half-mast?

If the demonstration remains tinged with a form of union romanticism where the thrills of the evening are invited, it embodies above all a binary logic where good against evil   is opposed without leave room for intermediate solutions and also presents the risk of leading to a paralysis of the country.  

Ultimately, only one question arises: How to save our pay-as-you-go pension system in a tense demographic and social context? Consultation or demonstration, the solution remains to be found.


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Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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