Laurent Berger, secretary general of the CFDT, is the guest of the Grand interview of France Inter.

INSEE published its forecasts yesterday. Growth would only be 0.25% in April and June. Inflation, precisely, could rise to 5.4% in June, against 4.8% today. Another worrying indicator: the trade deficit reached the absolute record of 100 billion euros, partly due to the energy bill of the war in Ukraine. “When I look at the overall picture, I’m worried“, explains the general secretary of the CFDT, Laurent Berger.

The French economy is slowing down. When I look at the overall picture, the inflation rate is extremely strong. But what interests me is when I come down from the global picture and look at what is actually happening in companies. I was last week at Sodexo, at Socotec, meeting activists in the Pays de la Loire region and each time, they tell me ‘in certain sectors, it is more and more difficult to live properly because the price increases are a problem for us. So the photo, it is worrying on a global level and it has very concrete incarnations in the real life of workers, with a difficulty in living properly from work for many of them.

Wage increases and household aid

He continues: “Fortunately, there are people for whom it is quite painless, even if they see it. But when you have a salary of 1500 euros and the cost of energy, it is more +9 %, that the price of food products is +3.6%, well you see it because when you are limited each time at the end of the month, it has a very concrete connotation." How to fight against this?

Sraised wages and social minima, and on the other hand, have targeted measures for the most modest households.

For Laurent Berger, companies must be forced to increase wages: "We give public aid to companies. There are reductions in contributions up to 1.6 times the SMIC. It is necessary to condition these reductions in contributions to the fact that there is no branch which has minima below the minimum wage. And when you have minima below the SMIC, well you revise the aid that is allocated to companies."