France: education unions hold government to task over commitment to living standards

Through their trade union federations, French education unions are not letting public authorities forget their commitment ensuring that public servants a decent standard of living through the Protocol on Professional Pathways, Careers and Remuneration.

A triple challenge to the agreement that was signed

The Syndicat national des enseignements de second degré - Fédération syndicale unitaire (SNES-FSU) has published the letter sent to the Prime Minister by the six trade union organisations that signed the Protocol on Professional Pathways, Careers and Remuneration (PPCR). These are the Union des fédérations des fonctions publiques et assimilés - Confédération française démocratique du travail (UFFA-CFDT), the Confédération française de l'encadrement - Confédération générale des cadres (CFE-CGC), the Fédération Autonome de la Fonction Publique (FA-FP), the FSU, and the Union nationale des syndicats autonomes (UNSA) Fonction Publique.

In this letter, the signatory trade unions recall that at the meeting of the Joint Council of the Public Service on 10 July 2017, the Minister for Budget, Public Accounts and Civil Administration announced on behalf of the government, in respect of the PPCR, that “the public finances situation compels us to examine the timetable for the implementation of the Protocol and the staggering of its introduction”.

For them, such a statement is a “triple challenge”:

·         To the respect due to public servants as a whole, their careers, their appeal, to the recognition of their qualifications and their commitment in the daily exercise of their duties dedicated to the general well-being;

·         To public servants’ purchasing power, a new reduction in which would end up by confirming what public servants notice day-by-day in their standard of living; and

·         To social dialogue itself and respect for what the State says, the PPCR measures being the result of a long process of discussion followed by negotiations.

They also believe that “to extend the timetable for the implementation of the PPCR measures, which is already staggered over a long period in terms of the re-evaluation issues concerning careers in the public service, would be a very bad signal” sent to public services’ staff and their representatives, “the more so because they have been anticipating these measures for such a long time.”

They therefore urge the Prime Minister that the announcement made by the Minister for Budget, Public Accounts and Civil Administration not be followed up.

An issue of recognition and respect for public servants

TheUNSA Fonction publique particularly insisted on the fact that, “worried, public servants are questioning the logic of the government’s action. Whilst the people of France can every day see the commitment, involvement and effectiveness of public servants, especially as regards protecting people, public servants seem to be targeted by government announcements to reduce budgetary costs”.

For UNSA, recognition and respect of public servants means public sector employers implementing all the agreements that they have made, including the PPCR Protocol. It stressed that this agreement facilitated putting an end to the decline in remuneration and purchasing power experienced between 2010 and 2015, and this is why the implementation of PPCR must now be continued, and the timetable for its implementation be respected.