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Work more… in search of lost growth?

“We will have to ask ourselves (…) the question of working time, public holidays and paid vacation to accompany the recovery and facilitate, by working a little more, the creation of additional growth” : Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, patron of Medef, explained April 11 in Le Figaro the means according to him of “Try to erase, from 2021, the growth losses of 2020” due to the coronavirus epidemic.

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Work harder to make up for lost growth… “It’s totally indecent”, reacted Sunday April 12 the general secretary of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, joined by the left as by Xavier Bertrand (ex LR), boss of Hauts-de-France.

Distribute efforts

Could this be possible, while Secretary of State Agnès Pannier-Runacher also warned that it would be necessary “Probably work more than we have done before” ? For Denis Ferrand, at COE-Rexecode, “We are in a phase where the quantity of work is massively limited, in a compulsory way, by the authorities. In terms of strict macroeconomic logic, the massive reintroduction of work in the country, after this episode, may be a way out. “

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Putting it into practice is tricky, he admits, however. “This would require arbitrating the distribution of efforts, because the professions currently on the front line will need rest. “

Far from one “General decision applied uniformly, any additional margin in terms of working hours, in particular, should be decided in each company, with the unions, he emphasizes. This is what happens in those who are already organizing a recovery, after having defined hygiene conditions together … “ No question, therefore, of calling into question the 35 hours during this crisis.

Order books

Patrick Martin, the deputy chairman of Medef, made it clear that any acceleration of pace could only be envisaged if the company and employment were ” threat “, “For a time, respecting the law” and “In agreement with the trade unions”.

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But for Christopher Dembik, at Saxo Bank, “Everything will depend on the order books. It is hard to imagine the automobile and aeronautics resuming at full speed while vehicle sales are collapsing and aviation is in the midst of a crisis. “ Tourism professionals, they would rather have the French take leave as soon as possible …

Everything will depend on the duration of confinement

Christopher Dembik points to two areas where producing more could be relevant: “The metal trades because they export to Asia, which is rebounding, and the construction industry, in particular, because the post-crisis recovery will go partly through public orders. “

It will also depend on the duration of confinement and the strength of the recovery, while some fear several waves of epidemic … and therefore recession. Without forgetting the forever lost growth (meals not served in restaurants …) but also the debate that is already looming: who will pay the bill in the end? A question already raised by Laurent Berger: “Today workers, like everyone else, are paying the cost of this crisis. It’s not up to them to pay next. “


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