Unemployment insurance: Unedic’s financial trajectory called into question by social partners

Employers and unions estimated on Friday that the financial trajectory projected by the government for Unédic was unrealistic and are considering freeing themselves from it to negotiate a new unemployment insurance agreement.

Following a first calendar meeting between social partners on September 12, Unédic presented its own forecasts during this second negotiation session, projecting an unemployment rate of 7.4% on average for 2024 and 2025, compared to 7. 0% and 6.4% for the government.

The government intends to take between 2 and 4 billion euros per year from Unédic surpluses, which depend on the unemployment rate, to finance public employment and training policies as well as France Travail from 1 next January.

This new organization will in fact need additional resources to support nearly two million RSA beneficiaries for whom it will be responsible, in addition to the unemployed.

But the drain on the revenues of Unédic, which is heavily in debt, will force it to borrow in the short term on the markets to honor its repayment deadlines, which will cost it 800 million over four years.

“At a time when each company is being asked to repay its PGE (state-guaranteed loan taken out during the health crisis), where employees and households are being asked to repay their property loans, we would not understand that the The State arrogates to itself the right to re-borrow in order not to honor a debt,” commented Medef negotiator Hubert Mongon at the end of the meeting.

– “Aggressiveness of the government” –

“The debt of Unédic is the debt of the State” because it enters into the calculation of the public debt within the meaning of the Maastricht Treaty, noted CFDT negotiator Olivier Guivarch.

Faced with this situation, the social partners have indicated that they could, during the next negotiating session next Thursday, declare that they are freeing themselves from the government’s framework letter, which could in return refuse to agree to the agreement. found between social partners.

“The great aggressiveness of the government in its framework letter may mean that we all have an interest in trying a path of passage to eight”, namely the five unions and the three employers’ organizations present around the table, estimated Denis Gravouil, the CGT negotiator.

To achieve this, negotiators will still have to reach compromises on the content of the new unemployment insurance agreement.

Next Thursday, they will talk in particular about the minimum contribution period giving entitlement to benefits, which the CFDT would like to reduce to four months and the CGT to two. The subjects of rechargeable rights, floor allowance and seasonal workers will also be discussed.

At the next meeting on October 4, the thorny issue of seniors on which negotiators are awaiting government measures following the increase in the retirement age will begin to be addressed.

During the following sessions, the questions of employer contributions, termination of contract at the end of a trial period, or even non-recourse to rights will be examined.

In addition to a deadline set for these negotiations at November 15, the framework set by the government sets in stone the reforms already undertaken in recent years.

The government document therefore prohibits social partners from questioning the method of calculating compensation, which has been less favorable since 2019 for job seekers alternating between unemployment and short contracts.

There is also no question of returning to the modulation of compensation rules according to the economic situation: since February 1, 2023, the duration of compensation has been reduced by 25% and will only be extended in the event of significant deterioration. economic.

This measure, like the new method of calculating compensation, is defended by employers. The latter is opposed, on the other hand, to the “bonus malus”, which modulates upwards or downwards the unemployment insurance contribution rate of companies in certain sectors (transport for example) which abuse precarious contracts.

The bonus malus system will nevertheless be discussed by the negotiators on October 12.

© 2023 AFP

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