This is the end of the holidays for economic and social news. Emmanuel Macron returns to the Elysée Palace on Monday 23 August, two days before the Council of Ministers returns. For his part, Prime Minister Jean Castex has already made an appointment with the unions.
The head of government will host the social partners on 1 and 2 September, Wednesday and Thursday of next week. For this first warm-up round of a social start that promises to be full before the presidential election, it will not be a group meeting but individual meetings. The leaders of the labour and management centres will be received individually, one by one. No big summit.
The programme of discussions is not yet officially known but we can bet on a broad overview of social news with three very hot issues: the consequences of the health situation, the pension reform and the implementation of the unemployment insurance reform on 1 October. These bilateral meetings between the Prime Minister and trade union leaders will make it possible to take the temperature of a particular return, about six months after the “summit of social dialogue”, the third of the Castex mandate.
Presidential election in eight months
In a context where the management of the health crisis remains the priority, the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron and the government clearly want a return of actions and results, already on the offensive for the national election scheduled in April. The executive must consolidate the economic recovery and can rely on good growth figures (target of 6% this year for GDP, the wealth produced) and the marked improvement in unemployment which, with a rate of 8%, looks slightly below its level at the end of 2019 before the health crisis.
Unions on the alert
All the trade unions and employers will be very attentive to the timetable of the reforms in this still unclear period between the government zone that ends and the electoral campaign zone that does not yet say its name. The social partners do not want a reformist bid. Elysée and Matignon know very well that they will find the unions on their way if the heavy files come out abruptly. The opportunity, also, for the Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire to prepare a new investment plan to consolidate the recovery and try to calm minds.