Empowering Workplace Decision-Making for Equity

If inflation justifies demands in terms of wages, the social conference, which must take place in October, cannot only be a salary conference, believes Yves Clot, in a column in “Le Monde”. Indeed, according to the work psychologist, it is essential to put the quality of work at the center of discussions.

‘The announcement by the President of the Republic of the holding in October of a social conference hardly specifies his agenda except with regard to salaries below the minimum wage in certain sectors. This would make it a strictly salary meeting. On the union side, we seem to be okay with it provided that we discuss the minimum wage itself, price indexation and public aid to businesses. Even if we have more confidence in the new planned demonstrations than in the discussions to come.

With inflation spiraling out of control, it is purchasing power that is the center of gravity of the announced conference. It is true that precariousness has taken on nutritional dimensions such that even the associations to which the State delegates the management of social poverty are now turning to it to “get through the winter”. Corporate philanthropy surely won’t add up. Almost everywhere, people are calling for the redistribution of wealth. Helping the poor is the subject of much talk. We are alarmed by the risks that the ordeals they undergo will lead to a political victory for the extreme right.

The social emergency is there. It comes from far away and inflation dramatizes it. The question of salaries is vital. But it is questionable whether a “social” conference can only be a “salary” conference. The necessary gains in purchasing power of course justify the salary demands. But demand from the world of work is certainly not soluble in purchasing power. The situation is such that we hardly dare to raise the problem. Yet it is necessary, at a time when trade unionism and the left want to make “earning more” the path to winning back the working classes.

Outdated privilege

Faced with the demand for an increase in wages, there will be no shortage of voices to say that this is asking too much, especially from employers. Yet we can argue that this is asking very little. We are talking about indexing salaries to prices. But it is first and foremost about developing the power of action in one’s work that it must be done. Purchasing power and power of action must not be separated. Especially since the consumption model has become as questionable as the production model. It is in the name of purchasing power that the commercial tricks of hard discounting are already being deployed, which trivializes food segregation.

This article is originally published on .lemonde.fr


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