The claims of the “yellow vests” now officially go beyond the issue of fuel prices alone. In a lengthy statement sent to the media and members of parliament on Thursday 29 November, the movement’s delegation listed a series of demands it wanted to see implemented.
“Deputies of France, we inform you of the people’s directives so that you can transpose them into law (…). Obey the will of the people. Enforce these instructions”, write the “yellow vests”. Delegation spokespersons are to be received on Friday at 2 p.m. by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Minister of Ecological Transition François de Rugy.
Increase of the minimum wage to 1,300 euros net, return to retirement at age 60 or abandonment of withholding tax…. The list includes many social measures, but also measures concerning transport, such as the end of the increase in fuel taxes and the introduction of a tax on marine fuel and kerosene. Here is a non-exhaustive list of claims:
– Zero homeless : URGENT.
– More progressiveness in income tax, i.e. more brackets.
– Smic at 1,300 euros net.
– Promote small businesses in villages and town centres. Stop the construction of large commercial areas around large cities that kill small businesses and more free parking in city centres.
– Large plan of Insulation of the dwellings to make ecology by making savings to the households.
– Taxes: that BIG companies (MacDonald’s, Google, Amazon, Carrefour…) pay BIG and that small companies (craftsmen, very small SMEs) pay small.
– Same social security system for all (including craftsmen and self-employed entrepreneurs). End of the RSI.
– The pension system must remain united and therefore socialized. No point retreat.
– End of the fuel tax increase.
– No retirement below 1,200 euros.
– Any elected representative will be entitled to the median salary. His transport costs will be monitored and reimbursed if justified. Entitlement to a meal ticket and a holiday voucher.
– The salaries of all French people, as well as pensions and allowances, must be indexed to inflation.
– Protecting French industry: prohibit relocations. Protecting our industry means protecting our know-how and our jobs.
– End of seconded work. It is abnormal that a person working in France does not enjoy the same salary and rights. Anyone authorised to work on French territory must be on an equal footing with a French citizen and his employer must contribute at the same level as a French employer.
– For job security: further limit the number of fixed-term contracts for large companies. We want more permanent contracts.
– End of the CICE. Use of this money to launch a French hydrogen car industry (which is truly ecological, unlike the electric car.)
– End of the austerity policy. We stop paying interest on the debt that is declared illegitimate and we start paying down the debt without taking money from the poor and the less poor, but by collecting the $80 billion in tax evasion.
– That the causes of forced migration be addressed.
– That asylum seekers are treated well. We owe them housing, security, food and education for minors. Work with the UN to ensure that reception camps are opened in many countries around the world, pending the outcome of the asylum application.
– That rejected asylum seekers be returned to their country of origin.
– That a real integration policy be implemented. Living in France means becoming French (French language courses, French history courses and civic education courses with a certificate at the end of the course).
– Maximum salary set at 15,000 euros.
– That jobs be created for the unemployed.
– Increase in disabled benefits.
– Limitation of rents. More affordable housing (especially for students and precarious workers).
– Prohibition to sell property belonging to France (dam, airport…)
– Substantial resources granted to the judiciary, police, gendarmerie and army. Whether law enforcement overtime is paid or recovered.
– All the money earned by motorway tolls will be used for the maintenance of France’s motorways and roads as well as for road safety.
– As the price of gas and electricity has risen since privatisation took place, we want them to become public again and prices to fall significantly.
– Immediate end of the closure of small lines, post offices, schools and maternity hospitals.
– Let us bring well-being to our seniors. Prohibition to make money on the elderly. White gold is over. The era of grey well-being is beginning.
– Maximum 25 students per class from kindergarten to high school.
– Substantial resources brought to psychiatry.
– The popular referendum must be incorporated into the Constitution. Creation of a readable and effective website, supervised by an independent control body where people can make a legislative proposal. If this bill obtains 700,000 signatures, then this bill must be discussed, supplemented and amended by the National Assembly, which will have the obligation (one year to the day after obtaining 700,000 signatures) to submit it to the vote of all French people.
– Return to a 7-year term of office for the President of the Republic. The election of deputies two years after the election of the President of the Republic made it possible to send a positive or negative signal to the President of the Republic regarding his policy. This helped to make the voice of the people heard.)
– Retirement at age 60 and for all persons who have worked in a profession that wears out the body (e. g. bricklayer or boner) entitled to retirement at age 55.
– A 6-year-old child not caring for himself, continuation of the PAJEMPLOI assistance system until the child is 10 years old.
– Encourage the transport of goods by rail.
– No withholding tax.
– End of presidential lifetime benefits.
– Prohibition to make merchants pay a tax when their customers use the credit card. Tax on marine fuel oil and kerosene.
1) Fed up with the tax rate in general (fuel prices, taxes and payroll taxes). Is this justified? According to the figures, YES.
“The average French employee recovers two days of purchasing power in 2018 while remaining the most taxed in the European Union (EU). He works until July 27 to cover public expenses. This is two days less than last year and 45 days more than the EU average,” reports the Tribune before the movement of the yellow vests. “The average French employee is in theory among the best paid with 56,815 euros (6th place in the EU), but he is so taxed (56.73% of charges and taxes on his full salary, 1st place in the EU), that he only has 24,582 euros left in real purchasing power (11th place in the EU).” Contrpoints is ironic: “Thanks to taxes, France is getting poorer without concern”
Is the public service up to this tax rate, NO. “More than 1000 billion every year… If, in the face of these punishments, we observed a profusion of gleaming infrastructures, an irreproachable quality of education, impeccable healthcare institutions, administrations on the cutting edge to provide a service to taxpayers, we could admit this incredible bill,” says Counterpoints. “Knowing that at the same time, the country’s debt is growing, where the hell is the money going?”
2) Fed up with the tolls. Is this justified? YES
The private companies that built the motorways have been reimbursed for their costs and received a margin since 2005, called “The historical error of privatisation” says Obs. Why did Chirac and Villepin renew their contract instead of leaving the free highways as was imagined from the beginning? In addition, repairs and maintenance are not done properly. “Sometimes they do the renovations after five years instead of four, sometimes they use slightly cheaper materials without it being too obvious” according to the court of accounts (L’Obs). Yellow vests are perfectly legitimate when they allow vehicles to pass free of charge on the highway and it is a real scandal that there are laws against it that put certain people in prison and force police officers to use violence they do not want. Extortion, theft against the will of people, that’s what it is.
3) Fed up with supermarkets. Is this justified? YES.
Quality continues to deteriorate and prices rise for the benefit of shareholders. Food is a basic need; the law specifies that it is a service of general interest. People have to eat. Why entrust this to people who are too greedy and not very caring!
4) Will the movement be recovered by the neo-Nazis? Maybe.
The question is why we are talking about it when it is not currently the case. These premonitions encourage neo-Nazis to join the movement; just as Trump encouraged anti-democratic violence during and after the mid-Term by announcing them in a premonitory manner. French elites try to scare people who are justified in joining the yellow vests but do not wish to receive violence and/or infamy in return.
Why are some people trying to scare the yellow vests?
We can only hope that this group remains democratic, non-violent despite the violence of laws and premonitions. If they fail to manage in te good direction, without a leader and without violence, France would suffer terribly. Let us hope that this movement will allow France to find its way back to more democracy.
Press freedom is also in danger. “Better yet: the same journalists, largely invested with the sacred mission of defending taxes and the famous consent to taxes, seeing moreover that the amalgam "grumbles against taxes = fascist and populist movement” no longer works, find themselves lost in contortions funny enough to show that the State has nothing to do with it and that in reality, these taxes, even if they are high, make it possible (at your choice) to fight (climate change) pollution, to pay for (properly cleared and salted in winter) congested roads, to (educate) your children to assault teachers or to ensure the safety of (emotional) neighbourhoods.“explains Counterpoints.