Intelligence records worry about “massive citizen mobilization” brought about by “social boom”

The authorities said they were concerned about the many complaints from the French population, but also about how this discontent could play out.

Towards a “social explosion”? This Tuesday afternoon, the government, through Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, will present its options for the future of the pension system, one of which, the possible postponement of the legal age at 64 years, was announced with strong opposition in the streets and in Parliament, despite the measures promised “social justice”.

“New large-scale citizen mobilization”

The social climate promised to be very tense, and that worried the authorities. In a territorial intelligence note dated 6 January, which BFMTV was able to consult, police expressed their concern.

The current addition of demands makes them fear “the wrath of social agencies, which can mobilize widely in extending government announcements.”

Accumulated grievances are detailed in this note. “Rising energy prices are punishing many activities, the profitability of which is now jeopardized”, the police officer wrote, predicting that “2023 will be tough, with strong wage demands in public as well as in private.”

“If the population does not mobilize in numbers for now, the continued decline in purchasing power, coupled with ill-conceived reforms, could lead to new mobilizations of citizens on a large scale”, intelligence warned.

The despair of the craftsmen

First, these records suggest that a long-term strike will take place in addition to the very likely demonstration that will be announced at the end of the Prime Minister’s speech.

“Beyond traditional processions on public roads, such movements could result in long-term strikes in some key sectors of the economy (…) such as the actions taken by CGT last fall at the refineries,” it read.

In addition, the situation of “small craftsmen”, including a baker who was mentioned for several days on high because of his booming electricity bill, was also highlighted.

“The chaos of many professionals, especially small food artisans, is now palpable. (…) The initiative of companies, although not accustomed to mobilizing and acting in collective forms, is now emerging, with the example of a demonstration of bakers planned in Paris on 23 January.

On BFMTV last week, Corinne Butard, manager of three bakeries, confirmed she would be parading that day when she had never demonstrated in her life herself.

Demands one-level expertise

In the rest of the document, territorial intelligence is also concerned about moves that could end up outside the framework of trade unions, as happened at the end of 2022 during strikes at a refinery, some of which took place against interstate advice. -union.

“Several movements have been initiated by workers’ collectives, outside of any union framework. This method of defending professional interests appears to be gaining popularity among employees, to the detriment of traditional measures taken by unions”, we learned. .

This mode of mobilization, “less structured, raises certain concerns both within the company and in the trade union world”, and encourages a “disruptive and unpredictable mode of action”, with “sometimes actions planned within hours with the help of social media.”

As a result, the police believe that these modes of action could lead to a “certain increase in demands” by the unions, for fear of being “overwhelmed by their base”.

How about a yellow vest?

Finally, intelligence notes caution that rising energy prices, the initial Yellow Vest claims, and inflation, “appear to be motivating again [ces derniers] and opponents of health clearances, who aim to increase visibility measures.

In recent months, their rallies have had little success, but “the significant failure to mobilize the yellow vests should not hide the growing discontent within the region, linked to declining purchasing power.”

This Saturday, around 4,700 people mobilized Saturday in France to their call, including 2,000 in Paris, to denounce Emmanuel Macron’s policies and future pension reforms.

Alexandra Gonzales with Hugo Septier

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