En these first months of 2023, Laurent Berger, 54, secretary general of the CFDT, is one of the main faces – if not the face – of the protest against the postponement to 64 years of the legal retirement age wanted by Emmanuel Macron. The man with whom the President of the Republic must resume dialogue, believe certain executives of the majority, in order to find the way out of a crisis which is sinking into violence.
On May 27, 2004, the trade unionist appeared for the first time in the columns of the World at the time of a pension reform, already. The CFDT has been shaken for several months by the support of its number one, François Chérèque, for the extension of the contribution period decided by the Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, in return for better consideration of careers. long. More than 15,000 union members have surrendered their cards, according to official figures – tens of thousands are actually thought to have left.
The central reformist then reflected on the best way to revive itself. In his internal review, notes the journalist Michel Noblecourt, a certain Laurent Berger, 35, secretary general of the regional union of Pays de la Loire since June 2003, delivers this recommendation: “We must not fall into the trap of previous generations who asked members to totally agree with the organization, to be in osmosis with it. »
A balancing trade unionist
It must be said that the native of Guérande (Loire-Atlantique) comes from a region which, within the CFDT, is used to contesting the line set in Paris. To look good, the latter integrated him into the national office. Challenging and loyal, independent but responsible: Laurent Berger knows how to play the tightrope walker. The culture of compromise is, after all, one of the house’s promises.
“With the exception of a job in an integration company, this son of a welder from the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire (…) is a pure product of activism. »
Having become national secretary of the union, he worked in 2010 on a draft resolution devoted to pensions. Nicolas Sarkozy then prepares a reform which aims to postpone the retirement age to 62, the day after a financial crisis which devoured part of the public accounts. The CFDT agrees that a reform is necessary. In its initial version, the text of the trade unionist does not mention maintaining retirement at age 60 as a prerequisite, notes Claire Guélaud, April 19, 2010. It is only after amendment of the authorities that it is forbidden there that “the possibility of liquidating one’s retirement at age 60 must be maintained”.
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Source: Le Monde