Civil service negotiations deadlocked
Negotiations in the French civil service reached deadlock in January 1998 over pay increases and working time reductions.
There has not been a pay agreement in the French civil service since 1993. Since this date the Government has unilaterally imposed the major measures. The new left-wing Government has restarted the negotiation process, but at a difficult time for French public finances. The Civil Service Minister, Emile Zuccarelli has stated that "if the Government refuses to make cuts in the number of civil servants a political priority, then due to the uncertain international environment, budget restraints will remain stringent."
The first session of negotiation s, held on 14 January 1998, ended in disagreement between the Minister and the seven civil service trade unions - CFDT, CFTC, CGC, CGT, CGT-FO, FSU and UNSA- on two points:
- on pay, the Minister has put forward a plan for an across-the-board 1.2% annual increase in 1998 and again in 1999, plus rises for those whose salaries fall below the level of the statutory minimum wage (SMIC). He also proposed that loss of purhcasing power in 1996 be compensated for. However, this compensation has been judged to be inadequate, and all the unions involved agreed that these proposals were insufficient; and
- on working time, all the unions have demanded that the Government commit itself to a date for the introduction of the 35-hour working week in the civil service - as it has done for the private sector (FR9710169F). Although the implementation of the 35-hour week in the civil service was not ruled out by the Socialists during their election campaign in April 1997, it is presently planned only to affect the market sector. The Minister is considering setting up a commission to report on the introduction of the 35-hour week in the civil service.