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La rigueur et les réformes : histoire des politiques du travail et de l'emploi du gouvernement Mauroy (1981-1984)

Abstract : The Mauroy government is usually associated with the 1983 “austerity turn”. It is commonly agreed after the eurphoria following their electoral victory, the socialist power suddendly adopted economic austerity. The study of labour and employment policies can undermine this idea in two ways. Firstly, the political changeover allowed modernist high-ranking civil servants to reach key decision-making positions in social policies. They were under the influence of Jacques Delors and of the CFDT union, who both strongly supported collective bargaining. Already in 1981, sicoial reforms were initiated in an atmosphere of rigour, in ordre not to cause irrerversible economic and budgetary slippage. The reduction of working time, developed within the StatePlanning Commision was realized by focusing on decentralized social negotiation and wage moderation. The lowering of the retirement age to 60 years was initially associated with the increase of the contribution period. The Auroux labour laws did not put into question the power of entrepreneurs. Secondly, the inflection point of the Mauroy government policy is actually not to be found in 1983, but in the first half of 1982. After project of the 35 hour working week was scrapped, the fighting against unemployment was no longer a primary objective for the gouvernment. It was then in a dead end with no major reform to achieve. Its agenda was indeed dominated by financial problems (the UNEDIC deficit, which led to a dramatic reduction of unemployment benefits, and retirement fundings), but that does not mean that there was a widespread conversion of socialiste lite to neoliberalism at the time.
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Matthieu Tracol. La rigueur et les réformes : histoire des politiques du travail et de l'emploi du gouvernement Mauroy (1981-1984). Histoire. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015PA010700⟩. ⟨tel-02495735⟩

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