They were on the front line during each confinement, the little hands of the activities that should not be closed, even in times of advanced curfew. Hospital workers, doctors, nurses, nursing aides and service personnel; school, college, high school, higher education, videoconference or face-to-face teachers; energy companies, electricians or gas companies … Everyone should be at the center of our attention. These public service agents are however absent from the measures supposed to prepare the “world after”.
Of the 100 billion euros of the recovery plan, only 6 are reserved for health to slightly raise the salaries of hospital staff, 1.8 billion for the digital modernization of state and community services. The action of regions, departments and municipalities is certainly supported, to the tune of 10 billion, but to consolidate their role as conductor of activity in the territories. Should we count the 800 million of the army to inflate these shortcomings?
On the other hand, public services continue to score in the negative column of state finance and social security laws. Bed closures continue in hospitals according to the consolidation of establishments and services. National education is called upon to do more without receiving more. As for the agents of the public energy companies, led by EDF, they are fighting forcefully against the Hercules project, which completes the sector’s privatization strategy that has been under way for twenty years.
It is not surprising to see all these agents, employees or contractors of the public services, the first to respond to the call for mobilization launched in unison by the CGT, the FSU, Solidaires, UNEF and youth organizations. (MNL, Fidl, UNL). Health got the ball rolling on Thursday, education is mobilized on January 26 and energy on 28, before a National Interprofessional Day on February 4. Even more if the Covid allows it. “We want to learn from the past nine months, so that the days after are really different. We have to create jobs, especially in public services, to meet so many unmet needs, ”explains Catherine Perret, Confederal Secretary of the CGT.
Returning to the path of strikes and mobilisations is obvious to these unions. “In budgetary programming and long-term measures, the government has remained on its ideological assumptions,” laments Benoit Teste, secretary general of the FSU. However, notes Murielle Guilbert, general delegate of Solidaires, “thinking about the common good is necessarily strengthening the three public functions.” Spearhead of this social back-to-school 2021, public services make other private sectors want to rejoin. In the food industry, metallurgy, chemicals and transport, there is no lack of claims. They won’t stay confined for long.