Trade unions called for a new day of strikes and demonstrations for all professions on 19 March, focusing on the themes of employment, public services and purchasing power. This protest day followed the mobilisation of January 29, which the Fondation decided to study in a survey carried out by TNS Sofres. The findings pointed out the complexity of public opinion as far as ongoing reforms were concerned.

Today, the Fondation pour l’innovation politique releases From 29 January to 19 March: Civil Service vs. Civil Society?, an interpretation of the social situation based upon the analysis of the complete findings of this survey. This analysis points out some yet undisclosed aspects:

  • The “strike by proxy” theory is questionable
  • The support to the protest movement reveals a difference between “dissatisfied” and “concerned”
  • This difference reflects a cleavage between civil servants and all other wage earners
  • The progressing disconnection between these two social worlds, stirred by globalization and hastened by the economic crisis, leads to the rising of an increasingly empowered “civil service social class”

As Dominique Reynié asserts, “a conflict between the civil service and the rest of the working population appears inevitable if we assume, on one hand, that vulnerable employees are calling for the State to take advantage of globalization and to get them through the emerging crisis and, on the other hand, that the mobilization of the necessary means calls for a reduction of part of the national wealth consumed by the administrative apparatus. Yet, by virtue of their status and the strategic role of their activity, civil servants can prevent this redistribution of wealth. Without arbitration on behalf of the most vulnerable, this conflict will continue to raise a pressing social justice issue and, ultimately, a serious challenge for democracy”.