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Bruno Le Maire calls on companies that can to increase wages, cautious bosses

Faced with accelerating inflation, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, called on Monday, May 23, companies that can to increase wages, at the start of a meeting in Bercy with employers’ organizations. , unfavorable to any generalized increase. “I think it’s good that wages can increase in companies that have the opportunity,” said the minister, adding that “we need our compatriots to say to themselves, ‘it pays me to work’, and not ‘ it’s costing me dear’ because of the price of gasoline.”The return of inflation is a source of concern and anxiety, of anguish for millions of compatriots”, explained Bruno Le Maire, while the Consumer price inflation reached 4.8% over one year in April. Addressing the bosses, he wished “that all together we can provide answers to this”, while rejecting “general increases, everywhere, decided by the administration” because “that’s not how it works and that’s not what would be effective”.

Same story for the President of the Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CPME), François Asselin, who declared, this Monday morning, on franceinfo that there would be “no uniform salary increase (…). You you will have as many situations as there are different companies”. “We have companies that are weakened, so we have to be careful, not to handicap the future, which is uncertain”, also warned AFP Dominique Métayer, president of the Union of local businesses (U2P) .

Fair share

“The response to inflation must be equitably shared, it cannot rest solely on the State”, underlined the Minister of the Economy, renewed last Friday in his functions within the government formed by Élisabeth Borne. He recalled the measures already taken to protect the purchasing power of households, such as the energy shield, as well as the commitments of President Emmanuel Macron which will be the subject of a bill presented to the Council of Ministers before the legislative elections. June 12 and 19. Employer representatives also highlight the efforts they have already made. Faced with recruitment tensions, “many companies have made individual increases” in wages, assured Mr. Asselin, in order to “keep their workforce and their skills”.

In addition, “about 50% of VSEs/SMEs have paid their employees the Macron bonus, created at the end of 2018, tax-exempt and the maximum amount of which should triple during the five-year term, according to a campaign promise from President Macron. To encourage more companies to take the plunge, François Asselin also suggests that the government authorize them to pay the premium in several instalments, so as to circumvent any temporary cash flow difficulties.

Companies worried about rising costs

“Intermediate-sized companies have made significant efforts”, declared, for his part, the co-president of the Movement of intermediate-sized companies (METI), Frédéric Coirier. “Wages increased by more than 3% in the last mandatory annual negotiations and (…) profit-sharing and participation will certainly increase a lot too, since the 2021 results are quite good”, he anticipates. To restore purchasing power to employees, Mr. Coirier is betting on the announced reduction in production taxes. “We must return to the (European) average to restore the margins of our companies. From the moment they have margins, they invest, they create jobs and they can increase the remuneration of employees”, develops- he.

A return to the continental average which would be equivalent to 35 billion euros in lower production taxes, he told AFP. That is five times more than the 7 billion in production taxes that the executive has undertaken to eliminate by abolishing the contribution on the added value of companies. Businesses are also concerned about rising costs related to factors other than wages. “We see our raw material supply prices skyrocket, energy first. And when we can’t pass on the selling prices, it’s complicated,” explained the boss of the CPME.

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