Face to face. "Free" the company against employees and the state shareholder?

The covenant law returns today to the Parliament. It contains a number of privatizations, including those rejected by the Senate of Aéroports de Paris (ADP) and the Française des Jeux (FDJ). What do you think about it?

Roland Lescure The privatization of ADP is a difficult point. But I was a shareholder of a London airport and I can tell you that an airport is above all luxury shops. This is what it pays for and it is not up to the state to manage the Maison du Chocolat, Hugo Boss or the Ladurée amaretti. Its role is to regulate handling strategic aspects such as border security, traffic management. It will not change. On the other hand, for France to maintain and develop its attractiveness, it needs a world-class airport. This is not the case when Roissy is the tenth airport in the world in terms of traffic and the 40th for the quality of service. So we have to invest, but we can not afford it.

Stéphane Peu These explanations are not those of the government, which insists on the financing of a social innovation fund to justify this privatization. But ADP is profitable: among the gains of a "one shot" privatization and the remuneration that ADP pays every year to the state of about 200 million euros of dividends, the expected income will not be at the rendezvous. Also the protagonists of the file, the employees' unions, the elected local representatives, the consular chambers and the employees of Air France are hostile to the privatization. You must listen to them. Finally, I ask myself: how can France, which has been able to modernize itself through strong public investments and an innovative social model, become converted to liberalism without keeping an ounce of what has made its DNA? In the United States, international airports are not private and remain in a monopoly regime.

Roland Lescure It can not be said that ADP is a monopoly. Paris airports compete with those of Berlin, Munich, Barcelona and Shanghai.

Stéphane Peu He is playing with words. ADP is a monopoly and is of great strategic interest. Its surface wealth is equivalent to two-thirds of Paris. It is a central tool for spatial planning. We can always reassure ourselves with speeches that guarantee state control, but the Pact Act itself shows us that these promises are not valid. Consecrates exactly the privatization of Engie despite all the promises made to the national representation and employees of GDF at the time of the opening of the capital. When we privatize, we believe that the private individual, who is not really a philanthropist, is interested in buying. And all the constraints surrounding privatization are often downgraded. We have seen this with the privatization of the highway monopoly. For the DFG, I oppose any privatization because it is profitable and is a public health problem.

Roland Lescure I completely assumes the privatization of ADP. Possession is not the best way for the state to maintain real power over strategic structures. On the other hand, sovereign issues will remain the responsibility of the state. Customs will never be privatized. The real challenge of France is to tackle the debt of the state. We can not afford to invest more, so we need to find ways to strengthen ADP's capital by continuing to provide public services. I finally took note of the Senate's refusal, but this room has mainly made improvements introducing, for example, the renegotiation of concession contracts and a review of tariffs every five years, so as not to repeat the error of privatization of motorways . Regarding the FDJ, there is no independent authority for the regulation of gaming in France. Somewhere, renouncing assets will help to remedy them. I say that tax revenues will continue to be collected.

The privatization of ADP is tantamount to privatizing the land that belongs to it. Vinci could find in ADP a "compensation" for the abandonment of Notre-Dame-des-Landes?

Stéphane Peu The Vinci concession of the Stade de France expires in 2022, just before the Olympics. In parallel, Macron canceled the Vinci grant to Notre-Dame-des-Landes, and the group is already a minority shareholder in ADP. We know the weight of a company of this power and we do not have the feeling of being here in a free and undistorted competition. The state does not seem to be in a position of strength.

Roland Lescure The amounts are not the same. The ADP is estimated between 8 and 12 billion euros. But I am very sensitive to transparency and compliance with tender procedures. It is out of the question to promise Peter, Paul, Jacques or Vinci something. If there is the slightest hint of collusion, I will be on Stéphane Peu's side. But I see that we are here in a situation of extreme strength. Airports are now very attractive for long-term investors. And not just Vinci. As for the heritage, after all, it is bought at the age of 70. Because the idea is to privatize the ADP for this duration of the grant before taking control of everything, including the land. In other words, we renationalize.

This law, a mammoth of over 200 articles, also attacks the company. Is it consistent?

Roland Lescure I prefer to talk about a monument. The Pact Act redefines 21st century business. A company that is easy to create and grow. A company released and responsible. Faced with the challenge of sharing wealth, environmental issues and endangered social ties, the company's role is to go beyond creating value and innovation. This law rethinks its role as that of the state, consumers and investors, with an entire chapter dedicated to the generalization of employee savings and retirement to create long-term capital that is lacking in France today. Our goal is to equip ourselves with tools to perpetuate family capitalism against vulture funds and financial markets.

Stéphane Peu If this law is a monument, the architect has sketched plans. This project arrived on the table of parliamentarians with 71 articles to go out with over 200. This inflation raises the question of the coherence of the text. It seems to me anachronistic already because it dedicates a pro-business conception of politics while all social warnings are linked to the weakening of society, the loss of national sovereignty in the conduct of companies and the weakening of our model in the name of liberal globalization. Rather than freeing the company, it is actually to relieve it from the social bond, but never from the constraint of financialization. Macron explained in his vows that "ultraliberal capitalism is coming to an end". The Pact Act concludes the opposite of this flash of lucidity.

Roland Lescure This text presupposes the liberation of the company. Because before sharing the wealth, it is appropriate to create them. I think we are not faced with a law of the right for the bosses or a law of the left for the employees, but a text that makes the companies more dynamic and at the same time more responsible.

Why does the Pact Law not address the issue of wage increases, but at the center of the social demands that are shaking the country at this time?

Roland Lescure I think fundamentally that the company is no longer the place of the class struggle. I grew up in a communist family, in a Marxist vision of the economy. Unfortunately, good idea, bad realization. So you have to think of another model. For me, society is a meeting place, where stakeholders, including employees, have to say theirs. And you must be able to pay those who have run the risk of launching it, investing in it and innovating. The sharing of profits, participation, transparency on the wage gaps that we bring allow to effectively align the interests between the company and the employees. It is about finding a new balance. Between wild capitalism on the right and statist marxism on the left, there is a third voice.

Stéphane Peu The class struggle is neither a goal nor the consecration of the struggle of men against men. It is the declaration of divergent interests between capital and labor, which must be regulated by internal power relations with the company and by public intervention. Today, in the covenant law, there is a risk that is not prevented by the transfer of salaries to profit sharing. The majority tries to focus on the employee's net and immediate salary, denying socialization. But the French social model, which must be modernized and perfected, is based on this. To take a well-known expression: the net salary is immediate, and the gross salary is for life, with pensions and social security, etc. The day when we consider that, with the increase in profit sharing and wage compression, there is no more socialization of pay, there is a slip that leads to health being paid, for example. We see it in many countries … So there is a question about a social model that for me is solid, functional and to which the French are deeply connected. I firmly believe in the participation of employees in the running of companies and in the fact that the remuneration of work must be paid. The President of the Republic often repeats that "work must pay". But is there any other way to work to pay than to pay?

Roland Lescure Yes! And they are not for general wage increases decided by the National Assembly.

Stéphane Peu Well I, I think the axis of remuneration of work, is not to increase the Smic by increasing the business bonus, which is a check, is to increase the Smic in increasing the Smic! Furthermore, the paradox of the movement of yellow jackets is that society is out of the way. What they are saying to the state alone is that the company is no longer a place where it is possible to negotiate and discuss compensation. This is disturbing. Because we can not reject the social responsibility of the company and the redistribution of added value in favor of wages. I tabled a first reading amendment on the pact law to set a salary scale and to pay for differentials from 1 to 20. This was rejected.

Roland Lescure Some entrepreneurs pay the salary, and I find it very good. But it is not up to the National Assembly to decide …

Stéphane Peu But why everything else can be done here and not that?

Roland Lescure Because real companies have different realities. When you are in a field of full employment, in international competition, and you have to attract quality managers, well, yes, sometimes you have to pay. And you have to pay more than in protected areas where you can afford less divergent remuneration. The fact remains that the pay gap is a fundamental issue, it is the worm in the fruit of capitalism, even the responsible capitalism that I believe. So we have to face it and we do it with information and transparency. Today, it is necessary that Carlos Ghosn be stopped in Tokyo, in such a way as to realize that he has an indecent remuneration. If we legislate on the subject, companies will go elsewhere. The competitive sectors and value creators they hire will move to Brussels, London, Munich. We are in an open world.

Stéphane Peu I know it well. But when there is excess, no transparency can limit, we must legislate. And I do not think France is weakening to strengthen its principles of solidarity and equality. When I see that the five main reasons why foreign investors come to France are the health system, the level of education, the quality of higher education, spatial planning, the quality of transport and infrastructure, all are public investments and public services, I say to myself that we must maintain our unique strengths without trying to align ourselves with what other countries are doing.

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