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The pandemic of the new coronavirus led many governments to put the economy into a kind of quarantine-induced coma and orders of mandatory confinement.
This has also been the case in France, where up to this Friday there had been more than 28,000 deaths from covid-19. There, in the first quarter of the year, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 5.8%.
Already in April the French Business Movement (Medef) had sparked controversy with its suggestion, in the mid-forties, that the debate on working harder should be opened.
“Sooner or later we will have to ask ourselves questions about working hours, holidays and paid vacations to accompany an economic recovery and facilitate, by working a little more, additional growth,” said Medef.
Improve hourly productivity and do a little more work?
totally indecent“by Laurent Berger, secretary general of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT), the country’s main union.” data-reactid = “62”> A speech that at the time was described as “totally indecent“by Laurent Berger, secretary general of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT), the country’s main union.
France Info.“data-reactid =” 63 “>” Open today the debate on the increase in working hours when hundreds of thousands of people will probably lose their jobs due to this virus seems completely anachronistic and even indecent to me, “Berger said during an intervention on the public station France Info.
it worries me they are all those workers who are in danger of losing your job, “he added.” data-reactid = “64”> “What it worries me they are all those workers who are in danger of losing your job, “he added.
“Instead of making employees work harder, we should first make sure everyone has a job that allows them to live decently.” “, Source: Vincent Gautheron, Source description: Unionist, Image: Farmer
A month after this controversy, the economist Bertrand Martinot, author of the set of proposals published by the Institut Montaigne, relaunches the debate in the European country.
two ways to correct this drop“Martinot tells BBC Mundo.” data-reactid = “86”> “Basic reasoning tells us that, in the coming months and quarters, companies will experience a very significant drop in their hourly productivity. As a result of protective measures, all economic activity will slow down Improving productivity per hour worked and working a little more are two ways to correct this drop“Martinot tells BBC Mundo.
To increase working hours, Martinot proposes to facilitate the exchange of vacation days.
According to the Institut Montaigne, French productivity will be affected by containment measures.
I propose is than the company can force him to to buy free days“continues the former adviser to former President Nicolas Sarkozy.” data-reactid = “112”> “That is already possible today, but the employee is required to agree. What I I propose is than the company can force him to to buy free days“continues the former adviser to former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“Obviously, there will be no free work and it must be done within the legal limits,” says Martinot, adding that the employee would continue to have “the right to enjoy their summer vacation.”
In dialogue with BBC Mundo, Vincent Gautheron, national secretary of Ugict-CGT, one of the five main unions in the European country, considers this set of proposals to be “simply scandalous”.
“We have a good number of workers who are now fully or partially unemployed. Rather than making employees work harder, we should first make sure that everyone has a job that allows them to live decently.”
in practice we realize that adding one or two days of work a year has a really marginal effect on GDP“he tells BBC Mundo.” data-reactid = “121”> “In theory, you can think that if we work more, we produce more and this will allow us to get out of the recession, but in practice we realize that adding one or two days of work a year has a really marginal effect on GDP“he tells BBC Mundo.
The Institut Montaigne believes it is necessary to eliminate a holiday and a week of school vacations to help the economy.
“It is an insignificant percentage if we compare it above all with the drop that is expected in some European nations, which ranges from 7% to 10% depending on the country,” Claeys insists.
In France, most schools and universities, both public and private, plan to remain closed until at least September as part of the containment measures.
“First, it allows students to catch up on school, which is very important. And then it gives parents the opportunity to continue working without any worries, often when you have children at home (. ..) you don’t work well “.
“” If the employees do not have vacations, they will not do tourism. You have to be careful with that “.”, Source: Vincent Gautheron, Source description: Unionist, Image: Tourist
“It is a proposal that would have been made outside the context of covid-19: France has the highest number of vacations in May within the countries of Europe. We have three holidays, some years we even reached four,” he explains.
a way to slightly increase growth potential from the country”.” data-reactid = “170”> “This leaves France behind in terms of production per capita compared to Germany or other northern European countries. So this is a way to slightly increase growth potential from the country”.
A “whim” of entrepreneurs
they think that you always have to work and produce more. “data-reactid =” 172 “> Union leader Vincent Gautheron doubts that these proposals help improve productivity and believes that it is simply” a whim “of employers who they think that you always have to work and produce more.
Less vacation means less income for the tourism industry, warns Vincent Gautheron.
“It is not sensible. On the one hand we have industries and services that will ask for less vacations and more work, but on the other hand we have the tourism and entertainment sectors that will tell the government ‘you have to help us because with the quarantine we have lost income and we are on the verge of bankruptcy. ‘
they will not do tourism. One must be careful with that”.” data-reactid = “194”> “If employees do not have vacations, they will not do tourism. One must be careful with that”.
Strongly agreeing with this reflection, the economist Grégory Claeys considers it important to emphasize that the tourism industry would not be the only one affected.
“In general, in many sectors it is useless to make people work more if there is no demand. Perhaps it can help some sectors such as construction to catch up, but in no case will it make people consume more “
For this reason, an important sector of the French population has received with amazement the proposals of the Institut Montaigne.
“Structures already exist that allow companies to organize work and even work a little more,” says Gautheron.
“When we ask employees for efforts, they consider it unfair”
The unionist believes that “the logic of the immediate return of capital” must be broken and better wages must be encouraged to “allow everyone to live as well as possible” and consume the goods and services they need.
The pandemic has questioned several citizens about the relationship we have with the planet. We have focused a lot on the fact that people can eat this animal or that other one. ” data-reactid = “224”> “The pandemic has questioned several citizens about the relationship we have with the planet. We have focused a lot on the fact that people can eat this animal or that other animal. “
“There is a feeling of injustice and inequality that makes this type of speech – completely rational – not want to be heard.” “, Source: Bertrand Martinot, Source description: Economist., Image: Protest in France
“The lesson from all of this is that at a time when our production model has challenged our planet and its ecosystems, these are the kinds of problems that we will face most regularly if we don’t change our approach to the environment.”
it has become pathological“.” data-reactid = “246”> But for Bertrand Martinot the problem is that the French have a relationship with work “that it has become pathological“
“There is an atmosphere of general mistrust in France. Mistrust towards the company, towards the State … So, when we ask employees for their efforts, they consider it unfair. There is a feeling of injustice and inequality that makes this type of speech – completely rational – does not want to be heard “.
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