France: la vie en jaune

Over the past 12 months, diesel prices in France have risen by around 23%. Then came Emmanuel Macron’s tipping point decision: from 1 January 2019, a tax increase of 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol. Then came the gilet jaune (yellow vest) demonstrations. But it soon became clear that much more is fuelling discontent. On 29 November, the protesters sent the following list of demands to the media and députés (members of the French Assembly):

• Zero homeless people: URGENT

• More progressive income tax, i.e. more brackets

• Minimum wage (salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance, SMIC) set at 1,300 euros take-home pay

• Support small businesses in villages and town/city centres. Stop building the vast commercial zones around major cities that are killing small businesses and provide more free parking in town and city centres

• Major home insulation strategy for environmental reasons, enabling households to save money

• Taxes: the BIG players (MacDonald’s, Google, Amazon, Carrefour…) to pay BIG money and the smaller players (artisan workers, VSE, SME) to pay small

• Same social security for all (including artisan workers and the self-employed). Scrap the RSI social security scheme for the self-employed

The pension system must maintain solidarity and thus be socialised. No points-based pension

• End the increase in fuel taxes

Gilets jaunes-station essence_December 2018

No pension under 1,200 euros

• All elected representatives to be entitled to a median salary. Their travel expenses to be monitored and reimbursed when justified. Entitlement to meal and holiday vouchers

• The salaries of all French employees, plus their pensions and benefits, must be indexed to inflation

• To protect French industry: ban delocalisation. Protecting our industry means protecting our skillsets and jobs

End job posting. It is unacceptable that anyone working on French soil is not entitled to the same salary and rights. Everyone authorised to work on French soil must be on an equal footing with French citizens and their employer must contribute the same amount as a French employer

For job security: further limit the number of  short-term contracts (contrat à durée déterminée, CDD) for big companies. We want more permanent contracts (contrat à durée indéterminée, CDI)

• Scrap the CICE (tax credit for employment and competitiveness). Use this money to launch a French hydrogen car industry (which, unlike the electric car, is genuinely ecological)

• End political austerity. We stop paying interest ruled unlawful on the debt and start repaying the debt without taking money from the poor and less poor, but by collecting the 80 billion of tax evasion

• Tackle the root causes of forced migration

• Ensure asylum seekers are treated properly. We have a duty to provide them with housing, safety, and food, as well as education for minors. Work with the United Nations (UN) to open reception camps in many countries worldwide, while the outcomes of asylum applications are pending

• Rejected asylum seekers to be returned to their country of origin

Implement an effective integration policy. Living in France means becoming French (French language and history lessons, plus civic education, with a certificate delivered at the end of the whole course)

• Maximum salary maximum to be capped at 15,000 euros

Create jobs for the unemployed

Gilets jaunes-2 place de la Republique_December 2018

• Increase disability benefits

Introduce rent limits. More affordable housing (especially for students and those in precarious work)

Forbid the sales of assets belonging to France (dams, airports, etc.)

• Significant resources to be provided for justice, the police, gendarmerie (national police), and army.  Overtime worked by law enforcement to be paid or compensated by time off

• All the revenue generated by motorway tolls should be spent on maintaining French motorways and roads, as well as road safety

• Since the prices of gas and electricity have  risen since privatisation, we want them to be nationalised again and a consequent drop in prices

Immediately stop closing small railway lines, post offices, schools, and maternity hospitals

Let’s bring wellbeing to older people. Outlaw making money off older people. No more grey pound. The time of grey wellbeing starts now

• A maximum of 25 pupils per class from preschool through to sixth form/graduation

• Substantial resources to be made available for psychiatry

• The people’s referendum must be added to the Constitution. Creation of a clear and effective website, overseen by an independent body, where people can submit a proposed bill. If this bill gathers 700,000 signatures, it must be debated, completed and amended by the National Assembly, which will be obliged (one year to the day the 700,000 signature-mark is reached) to put it to the vote by all the French people

• Restore a seven-year term for the French presidency. Electing députés two years after the president has taken office will send a positive or negative message to the president on his/her policies. In this way the voice of the people is sure to be heard

• Retirement at 60 and, for everyone who has worked in a physically demanding job (e.g. mason or meat boner), the right to retire at 55

• A six-year-old child doesn’t take care of his/herself; extend the Pajemploi childcare support system until children reach the age of 10

Promote goods transport by rail 

• No deduction at source

• Scrap presidential benefits

• Stop forcing retailers to pay tax when their customers pay by credit card. Tax maritime fuel and kerosene (jet fuel)

Gilets jaunes-place de la Republique_December 2018

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