October 03, 2017 – interview by Berty Robert for RésohebdoEco – News – Interview
After the constitution, at the end of 2016, U2P, organization that brings together Capeb, Cnams, the CGAD and the UNAPL under a single banner, the president, Alain Griset, embarked on a tour of France.
The U2P is the result of a desire to rally. What is its ambition ?
The U2P today represents France’s 2.3 million businesses (craftsmen, traders of proximity and liberal professionals), and 4 million employees. Our ambition is to be able to provide these entrepreneurs a tax environment, social, regulatory, which is in line with their size. It is absolutely necessary that, in this country, we understand that small businesses need an environment to measure them. The work that we are conducting, in the framework of the orders, the IHR, learning or training, is to remind the Government that what it does must be consistent with the workings of our structures. If we continue to operate according to rules that are not made for us, we can neither hire nor expand. We also seek equity of treatment between professionals, in our view, fundamental. Since January, we have worked in order to put in place of U2P in each region and in each department.
You seem to be rather satisfied with the first month of the government action ?
It is true, for the moment. Concerning the three topics on which we have worked since may (order code of the work, RSI, the simplified scheme), the proposals made by the U2P were, in very large part, times. Therefore, we believe that we are in the right direction. But other topics remain to be addressed. Only part of the issue of RSI has been processed. There is also the reform of learning, vocational training, pension. So we have still a lot of work to provide for the eighteen months ahead, so that our colleagues are respected and heard.
What are, in spite of everything, the topics that arouse your concern or on which you still find it difficult to see clearly ?
On the RSI, for example, the dissatisfaction relates to both its functioning, and the amount and the calculation of contributions. The Government has said that it was going to work on the operation of the machine. Very well ! But we also want to turn to the question of the amount and calculation of contributions. On what base should I pay these dues ? How to calculate ? We also wish to see a real change in attitude of social organizations : in case of difficulty for the company to pay dues, we ask for the establishment of systems to pay in several times. We want a positive approach, not an approach that aims to kill the company to kick penalties.
“In general, the U2P will be able to oppose certain measures, but we always tell what we can offer instead.”
You are also vigilant on the reforms to come…
Yes. The orders of the labour code have to get out in the state where they have been announced. We will see what it will be. We will look at the details which, as everyone knows, are the place where the devil is…
On the labour code, we had five priorities. We got the fact that the industry-wide agreement as a priority, and that in the interior of this agreement, our colleagues, business leaders should be able to derogate, in some areas. The fact of having, in the agreements of branch, a specificity for our businesses is something fundamental in the way in which the texts will be written in the future. On the issues of industrial labor, our priority was to admit that an error of procedure does not serve more to condemn the head of the company. Also we have been heard. Will not be condemned that the business leaders who really have failed on the merits, and not on the form. We also wanted to make it jump thresholds between 0 and 20 employees. Here, we have been successful to 85 % : Up to 20 employees, there will no longer be the requirement to have a staff delegate. On the time to appeal after dismissal, which were two years ago, we asked a shortening to six months, and, finally, they are reduced to one year. Finally, we were the only ones to raise the issue of the incapacity of an employee for reasons non-professional : a cross-industry agreement was signed, and the company will no longer have to bear all the financial burden in cases where it dismisses an employee who, for example, would have injured himself during a football match. The company is not responsible for the incapacity that could result. Overall, if one takes into account all these measures, we can say that there was progress. In addition, two items were added : on the one hand, the establishment of a code of the digital work. Thus, in a very simple way, entrepreneurs will be able to obtain very precise answers to their concerns, which is impossible today. On the other hand, all the branch agreements must contain specific measures for our businesses. Previously, these branch agreements were made by “big”, ” big ” and we, we had to adapt to it, both good and bad. In general, the U2P will be able to oppose certain measures, but we always tell what we can offer instead. The opposition of principle, this is not our tactic.
There have been necessary at the time of the constitution of the U2P, to reassure the professions ?
Everyone would have been able to be worried about, not only the liberal professions. Certainly, there have been questions. Even if a mason, and a notary evolve in different worlds, there is, nevertheless, a “spine” common and very important. Everyone has understood that the sum of the forces is a real plus. I can see it clearly through the contacts that I have with the parliamentarians and the Government : when you say that you represent the liberal professions, artisans, traders, they know what it represents on the ground in their constituency, in terms of economic weight. The U2P regional are created very quickly and easily. As at 30 June, they were all created.
What is, according to you, the state of mind of the 2.3 million entrepreneurs that you represent ?
It is necessary to integrate the fact that they lived nearly nine terrible years. We are also living through a technological transformation, digital, which disrupts a portion of our business. Very clearly, there are still a few months, our colleagues were in anger, in protest. For many of them, this was also manifested in the polls. They still tend to not believe that one would work for them. There was a lot promised in terms of simplification, exemption, and, in the end, they have the feeling to always move to the side. Today, they have the feeling that things are going a little better, even if it is far away from the business in 2008. I hope that finally policy-makers have understood that he had a specific treatment for these companies. If the economic recovery and the environment combined, I think, very soon, the confidence will be reborn, that we will take back the investment, and that, behind, will be hired. But there is still impatience and doubts.
On your calendar, what are the other priorities for the future ?
There is the question of learning. Presidents Hollande and Sarkozy had held positive speech on this topic, but the necessary measures were not taken. We say that it is necessary to go really far. It is necessary to disconnect the remuneration of the apprentice with the age. It is also necessary, according to us, taking out the professional qualifications of the national education. There is also the reform of the training. Today, very few business leaders are formed and even fewer employees, as our trades evolve. Very clearly, on this issue, the speech of Emmanuel Macron we are worried about. He says he wants to make a training plan of 15 billion euros to the destination of the job seekers. Why not ? But where will he take these 15 billion ? If it is on the current resources dedicated to the training of professionals, it will be a disaster. Another sensitive topic : the reform of unemployment insurance. The president wants to give a coverage of unemployment for self-employed workers. Very honestly, we did not asked. One wonders how it will do financially, and what will be the criteria to obtain new rights ? We will be attentive to the new rights allocated and how they will be funded.
TheU2P brings together business craft, commercial and liberal professions. It brings together the Confederation of craftsmen and small enterprises of the building (Capeb), the national Confederation of craft trades and service and manufacturing (Cnams), the general Confederation of food in detail (CGAD) and the national Union of liberal professions (UNAPL).