Minimum wage increased by 4%
In his inaugural policy statement to Parliament on 19 June, the new Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, announced a 4% rise in the SMIC national minimum wage to take effect on 1 July 1997.
The 4% increase in the SMIC (salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance) national Minimum Wage (Guaranteed), announced on 19 June by Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, is the equivalent of the one decreed by the previous Government after Jacques Chirac's presidential election victory in 1995. More than 2.2 million workers, around 11% of all French employees, will be affected by this measure.
Any rise in the SMIC, according to existing legislation, cannot be lower than half the rise in the average manual workers' hourly wages, which would mean a minimum of 2% for 1997. This increase of 4% means that the minimum wage is rising slightly faster than the average manual worker's wage, by about 1%.
The figure announced is below that demanded by most unions, which were looking for larger increases, ranging from "at least 4%" - as demanded by CFDT Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail) - to more than 10% - as demanded by CGT (Confédération Générale du Travail). The Communist Party, now part of the governing coalition, had been asking for an 8% rise. Employers, which did not oppose the principle of an increase in the minimum wage, had asked that it should be compensated for by a reduction in employers' social security contributions (FR9706149F).