With his latest proposal, the Minister of the Civil Service Stanislas Guerini has brought to the fore the end of life-time employment for civil servants. An exit which triggered an outcry among the unions.

Minister of Transformation and Civil Service Stanislas Guérini has opened consultations on his bill for “the efficiency of the civil service”, which must be presented to the Council of Ministers in the fall. And has obviously not warned the social partners of a measure that he nevertheless puts on the table in the press. It is contained in a short sentence, pronounced in La Parisien on Tuesday April 9: “I want the taboo of dismissal in the public service to be lifted.” Should we see this as the end of lifelong employment for civil servants? Reading between the lines, it looks very similar.

In fact, the government’s project aims to promote merit-based remuneration for civil servants, facilitate transfers between the different branches of the civil service and, in general, better sanction the professional inadequacies of civil servants when the fact is established. This Tuesday, a document – which Le Parisien was able to consult – was presented to public service unions and employers. He asks the following question: “Are employers and managers sufficiently equipped to take into account professional inadequacy in the course of their career, directly assessed on the basis of professional evaluation?”

Stanislas Guerini refers to dismissals for professional inadequacy. In other words, this can be similar to dismissal for incapacity after an illness or accident. Nothing to do, therefore, with “fault” in the private sector. On the other hand, what may surprise, and even make the unions cringe, is first of all that this precise measure did not appear at all in Emmanuel Macron’s program in 2022. An overhaul of the salary scales of civil servants was envisaged, but nothing was mentioned concerning this potential end of lifelong employment.

The pill is therefore having difficulty passing through the majority of unions. “It is purely shameful on the part of a Minister of the Civil Service from whom we have been waiting for several months for real salary negotiations to increase our salaries and which mark a profound loss of purchasing power in the civil service,” regrets Natacha Pommet, general secretary of the CGT Civil Service at the microphone of France Info. “We cast shame by making people believe that the 5.5 million civil servants suffer from professional inadequacy. He didn’t tell us anything! We learned about it in the press” she regrets, this Tuesday morning, still on France Info.

According to Stanislas Guerini, absenteeism in the public service represents an annual cost of eight billion euros for the State. Remarks that are “demagogic, symptomatic of a deep contempt” for the CGT. Same story with the National Rally deputy for Loir-et-Cher, Roger Chudeau. According to him, this proposal from the executive “is pure demagoguery (…) especially since there are procedures included in the general statute of civil servants allowing the dismissal of an incompetent person who does not fulfill the duties of his task.” He also denounces the “anti-civil servant’s failings”. For the moment, consultation on the bill seems to be off to a bad start.