A CFE-CGC delegation with CGT negotiator Jean-Francois Foucard on January 15, 2019. – ROMUALD MEIGNEUX / SIPA

An agreement on the reform of unemployment insurance is emerging while
the difficult discussions resume this Thursday. The employers sent a letter to the workers' unions on Wednesday evening, presenting their draft global agreement. What revive the discussions, which had been suspended for two weeks.

In this text, the employers address the two hard points: on the one hand the reduction of precarious contracts (CDD of less than one month), whose number has exploded for 20 years. On the other, the conditions of compensation for the unemployed to encourage the return to employment and achieve the savings requested by the government (between 3 and 3.9 billion euros over three years).

Bosses irritated by the bonus-malus

On the first point, the employer proposes to review the rules of "fixed-term contracts", very flexible fixed-term contracts without limitation of renewal and without payment of the end-of-contract indemnity. They are widely used in hotels, restaurants, shows, personal services, events, etc. Among the other avenues on the table, the employers respond to a request from the CFDT on access for fixed-term contracts of less than three months to the complementary health cover set up in their company. He also wishes to strengthen their personal training account (CPF).

With these proposals, the employers hope to convince the unions to give up the idea of ​​applying a "bonus-malus" on employers' unemployment contributions based on their use of precarious contracts. The Medef, the CPME (small and medium enterprises) and the U2P (craftsmen and tradesmen) had indeed been strongly irritated by statements at the end of January Emmanuel Macron, who had repeated his "determination" to implement the "bonus -malus ", a campaign promise.

"One-third of fixed-term contracts last only one day"

The three organizations had briefly withdrawn from the negotiating table before being reassured by statements by Edouard Philippe on his "trust" in the social partners to reach an agreement. Ditto for the Minister of Labor Muriel Pénicaud. "We have a solution. If the social partners find a better one that has the same effect it is very good, but otherwise it will be done, "she summarized about the" bonus-malus ".

At a time when "a third" of fixed-term contracts last only one day, "this question of excessive precariousness must be settled," insisted Muriel Pénicaud, targeting employers who "always put the same people out of work and therefore the cost of unemployment insurance ", of two billion a year according to Unédic.

It remains to be seen whether this will be enough for the unions, especially the "reformists" (CFDT, CFE-CGC and CFTC). Without "tangible proposals on the taxation of short contracts, there will be no discussion possible," warned Laurent Berger (CFDT). For its part, FO has made the "bonus-malus" a "condition" to the signing of an agreement. In case of failure of the discussions, the government would indeed take the hand and could impose its views by decree.

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