Jean Castex promises EUR 7.5 billion for hospitals

Surprised guest at a meeting in “Ségur de la santé” on Tuesday evening, the Prime Minister proposed a further € 1.1 billion for salary, while sitting on the table the issue of jobs. However, the unions remained disappointed after the meeting.

A dramatic blow to “Ségur de la santé”: new Prime Minister Jean Castex is invited to a crucial meeting with trade unions on Tuesday, July 7, announcing an extension of more than a billion euros for wages and adding “employment problems” to the negotiating menu.

The surprise was revealed shortly after. 7 of a tweet from the head of government, accompanied by a photo showing him along with Health Minister Olivier Véran and “Ségur” host Nicole Notat.

“Before Ségur de la Santé ended, I opened the negotiation meeting with the paramedics,” Jean Castex said.

The prime minister, who took office on Friday, stayed for about an hour before allowing Olivier Véran to continue the discussions. “He showed his commitment”, assured his entourage and elicited a “strong symbol”.

Above all, he did not come empty-handed. “I announced a $ 7.5 billion envelope,” $ 1.1 billion more than the one proposed last week to upgrade non-medical staff, he said.

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This increase “is significant, on a ground that was already historic,” Matignon insisted. The chief executive had already granted an initial extension of 400 million on Thursday, giving the 6.4 billion envelope for hospital staff.

“It’s just too little”

Despite this new financial gesture, the unions said they were disappointed Tuesday night with this new bargaining session. In question: the distribution of the envelope between general increase, revision of pay scales and redesign of bonuses.

The trade unions have long demanded an additional 300 euros net for all public sector hospital workers. But the government wants to extend the measure to the private sector and introduce a share of collective “profit sharing” in compensation.

“With these measures, the available envelope for the general salary increase cannot exceed EUR 165. It is far too little,” said a union official on Tuesday night, complaining that “not heard.”

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At this stage, a second trade union source confirmed “the unions are not happy with the proposals” and urged the government to give “the additional funds” to “reach” an agreement. Negotiations, canceled after six hours of talks, must resume on Wednesday at.

For unions, a second point causes tension: the workforce. During his speech, Jean Castex indicated that he “insisted that employment problems should also be included in the negotiations”.

“Each hospital will be asked to carry out a shared diagnosis of the situation of its staff (vacancies, absences, training needs …) and its activities,” the Prime Minister said.

The creation of 15,000 jobs offered

While the increase in membership demanded by the unions has not been part of the discussion until now, 15,000 job creation is now on the table, according to a union source, which produces a “positive score”.

But these jobs would be financed from the same envelope as salary increases. What the unions oppose, which threatens not to sign the agreement proposed by the government.

According to one participant, the Prime Minister “wants to end” Ségur “quickly, with a” memorandum of understanding “concluded on Thursday and submitted for signature by Friday, leaving little room for negotiations.

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The same pace for hospital doctors that must be received at the ministry on Wednesday at. Unhappy with the € 600 million revaluation offered to them last week, hospitals, trainees and student doctors are hoping for at least double that.

Other topics should also be the subject of simple recommendations, including investments, for which several billion euros are also mentioned.

Decisions are also expected in terms of “simplification”, including a rebalancing of power between directors and hospital doctors and in territorial reorganization of the health system.

Emmanuel Macron, who will speak on July 14, was able to announce the outcome of this huge concert, launched at the end of May and intended to give concrete form to the “massive plan” promised at the height of the coronavirus epidemic.

With AFP