The debate on working time is back. The CGT relaunched, this Thursday, October 14 in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), its campaign for the 32 hours. “We are relaunching the campaign that was launched in 2016. (…) We consider that this campaign retains all its relevance, and even that it is fully topical in the present context,” said during a press conference at the CGT headquarters, Baptiste Talbot, campaign leader and member of the Confederal Executive Commission.

“On a whole series of questions, questions of employment, working conditions, gender equality, work-life balance, the environment, the CGT considers that the reduction in working time is a carrier of social progress, “he added. The CGT proposes a reduction in working time to 32 hours framed by law, without loss of salary, and accompanied by an obligation to create jobs, so that the reduction in working time does not result in a degradation of working conditions, as was the case in the hospital after the introduction of the 35-hour week.

Two million jobs created?

“There must be a strict compensation in the law, I was going to say mathematical”, by new jobs for the reduction of working time, underlined the secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, believing that in this way , “more than two million jobs could be created, private and public” combined.

Baptiste Talbot argued that the reduction of working hours was the subject of various initiatives and experiments at the international level, citing Germany, Spain and Iceland. The European Trade Union Confederation has also come out “for negotiations on a reduction in the working week without a reduction in pay,” he stressed.

In France, 3.7 million unemployed are unemployed, and two million employees are subject to imposed part-time work, while at the same time 800 million additional hours are worked each year “by employees who for many are exhausted at work “, he enumerated. Asked about Europe 1 Thursday morning, the Minister of Labor Elisabeth Borne judged “this debate on the 32 hours (…) totally shifted”, arguing like the President of the Republic on Tuesday that the French work less than their European neighbors. “I think the President of the Republic and many of his ministers are a little out of step with the realities of work,” replied Philippe Martinez.

A subject at the heart of the presidential campaign

And it is not only the executive which has already spoken on the subject. As part of her presidential campaign, the socialist candidate, Anne Hidalgo, said she wanted “to ask the question of working time again”. As are environmentalists. Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI), meanwhile, said he was in favor of the 32-hour week. Conversely, on the right, Xavier Bertrand estimates that the working time could go up to 39 hours “by agreement or referendum”. One thing is certain, this theme will be at the heart of the 2022 presidential debates.


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