Friday, May 27

Tens of thousands of protesters demand wage hikes

“Everything increases, except our salaries!”: Several tens of thousands of private sector employees, civil servants, retirees or high school students demonstrated Thursday in France to demand salary increases in a context of the return in force of the question of the power of purchase, a few weeks before the presidential election.

This day, at the call of the CGT, FO, FSU and Solidaires and several youth organizations, “is the convergence of all the mobilizations” for several weeks “in all sectors”, underlined the number one of the CGT , Philippe Martinez. The Montreuil plant cited industry, agri-food, trade or the public service.

“Today too many employees in activity, too many pensioners are in a situation where it is difficult to find accommodation, to heat themselves more difficult, to move around (…) and the answer cannot be substitutes, bandages at the last moment “, also estimated Yves Veyrier (FO).

“More than 150,000” people mobilized during 170 demonstrations and rallies, according to the CGT.

The authorities for their part have identified 89,000 demonstrators, including 8,800 in Paris, according to a count by the Ministry of the Interior carried out at 5:00 p.m.

The previous day of interprofessional national mobilization, on October 5, had brought together 85,400 people according to the Ministry of the Interior, more than 160,000 according to the CGT.

In Paris, the procession – with 20,000 participants, according to the CGT – set off shortly after 2 p.m. from Place de la Bastille in the direction of Bercy, behind a banner proclaiming: “General increase in salaries, pensions, minimum social, it is urgent”.

Political figures were present, like Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI), Yannick Jadot (EELV) and Fabien Roussel (PCF), at a time when the polls put voters’ concerns at the top of the question of the power of ‘purchase.

In Marseille, in the morning, several thousand people (2,500, according to the police headquarters) marched from the Old Port, while in Lyon, they were around 1,500 (police) in freezing cold.

They were also a thousand in Saint-Etienne, according to the police, 2,500 according to the CGT, between 1,500 (police) and 2,500 (unions) in Rennes and 1,750 in Bordeaux (prefecture).

In Lille, several hundred people also gathered, under the drizzle, while in Calais, they were 150 to 200.

In Strasbourg, several hundred people (600 according to the prefecture, 700 according to the organizers) also demonstrated in the afternoon, and around 500 in Besançon, behind a banner “Our purchasing power is going up in smoke. bowl!”. They were still some 600 in Dijon, while in Corsica, the mobilization was weak, with around 150 people in Bastia, according to the authorities.

– “Like dominoes” –

The teachers, already in the street on January 13 and 20 to protest against the management of the Covid-19 health crisis, were present in the various processions, with placards targeting their minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, such as: “Salaries for go to Ibiza in winter”. At the end of the morning, the ministry reported 8 to 9% of strikers in the first and second degree.

“Big fed up”, teachers who are “at the end” or who fall “like dominoes”: from Paris to Marseille via Strasbourg, their anger was heard.

Excluding education, the rate of strikers in the state civil service was estimated at around 4.4% at the end of the day, according to the Ministry of Transformation and Public Service.

The unions are calling for an increase in the minimum wage and the index point for civil servants, and more generally of all salaries, allowances and retirement pensions, in a context of high inflation (+2.8% over one year in December) and record dividends.

“There are declarations of good intentions on the part of the government but we see that in the branches, it gets stuck”. (…) Employees are asking for their due,” said Mr. Martinez.

Minister of Labor Elisabeth Borne stressed for her part on CNews Thursday that the government had been “very attentive to purchasing power since the start of the five-year term”.

And the Prime Minister must receive the social partners for bilateral talks by mid-February, we learned from Matignon. In addition to subjects such as the advancement of the social agenda, “subjects of concern to the social partners” will be discussed.

The number one of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, also hammers the need to raise wages, calling on employers to understand that “now we have to give back a little”. But the first French union did not join forces with the intersyndicale on Thursday and decided to organize on February 3 “a march of essential workers”.

The organizers of Thursday’s mobilization will decide Friday on the continuation of the movement, during a meeting in which Unsa and the CFE-CGC will participate.


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