Let’s not distort the “zero long-term unemployed territories” project!

Let’s not distort the “zero long-term unemployed territories” project!

Gardeners on municipal land in Loos, near Lille, as part of the “zero long-term unemployed territories” scheme, September 14, 2018.

Gardeners on municipal land in Loos, near Lille, as part of the “zero long-term unemployed territories” scheme, September 14, 2018.

This system, launched in 2016, is a real success in the ten territories where it has been tested. Its logical extension could be compromised in the bill discussed this Tuesday in the Senate.

Tribune. “Everyone has the duty to work and the right to obtain a job”, sets out the preamble to the 1946 Constitution, integrated into our constitutionality block.

However, 4.2 million people are today out of employment, of which 2.7 million have been permanently away from it, that is to say for more than a year. The Covid-19 crisis, likely to cause an increase in the number of unemployed by more than one million, will further swell the ranks of rapidly growing long-term unemployment (increase of more than 5% between the first and the second quarter 2020). Before gaining employment, nearly one in two unskilled young people experience long-term unemployment, with its share of social and psychological consequences.

Faced with this unbearable situation, the “zero long-term unemployed territories” (TZCLD) project, initially carried out by associative actors in the field, was launched in 2016 as a gamble. The bet that what has not been successful at the national level – by a State which perhaps “cannot do everything”, at least not on its own – can be achieved at the territorial level.

“Go to scale”

The public authorities cannot give up in the face of this scourge of long-term unemployment which destroys lives and damages entire local tissues. Thus, the project relies on the autonomy of the territories, trust in local actors (local elected representatives, integration associations, etc.) to identify in a given territory people permanently deprived of employment on the one hand, and needs not – on the other hand, for which companies are ready to pay (eg: laundry, concierge services, etc.). The services provided should not compete with existing businesses. The territory then creates a company which hires the former unemployed with subsidies from the State (18,000 euros / job / year) and the departments (3,000 euros). In addition to grants, jobs are funded through the sale of the services provided.

This bet is on the way to being successful: among the approximately 2,000 people who entered the “zero long-term unemployed territories” system, more than 70% have found a job. The challenge now is to “scale up” and extend this system well beyond the first ten experimental territories. It should be noted here that this is indeed a “win-win” system since by reintegrating the long-term unemployed, the cost of social benefits decreases. State and departmental expenditure for TZCLD therefore represents more of an investment than a simple expense.

Restrain a solution that works

After adoption at first reading in the National Assembly in September, the bill will be under discussion in the Senate session on Tuesday. In view of the great success of the project, there should not be a shadow on the board for its extension. And yet… And yet, this system based on confidence in the territories is threatened with the reestablishment of a double supervision: supervision of Pôle Emploi on people deprived of employment who can enter the device; supervision of the Direccte on the services that can be provided, which goes directly against the spirit of the project. In addition, funding from the departments is compromised. The opponents of the bill, bogged down in a rhetoric centered on the gross cost of the device and the specter of the assistantship – yet antithetical to this experiment – have therefore decided to threaten its sustainability.

Would the start-up nation be so afraid of innovation, when it is social, that it would seek to curb a solution that works? To limit the number of territories authorized to drastically reduce unemployment? This Tuesday, the outcome of the debate must be unambiguous: the possibility of extending this device to the maximum number of territories possible, according to methods that work and that have made it successful. All mobilized for the second law, all mobilized to end long-term unemployment.

Signatories: David Assouline, senator from Paris; Florence Blatrix Contat, senator from Ain; Hussein Bourgi, senator from Hérault; Helene Conway-Mouret, Senator for French people living abroad; Marie-Pierre De la Gontrie, Senator of Paris; Vincent Duchaussoy, PS national secretary for work and social dialogue; Vincent Eblé, PS senator from Seine-et-Marne; Frederique Espagnac, Senator for Pyrénées-Atlantiques; Remi Féraud, senator from Paris; Hervé Gillé, senator from Gironde; Olivier Jacquin, senator from Meurthe-et-Moselle; Monique Lubin, Senator of Landes; Michelle Meunier, senator from Loire-Atlantique; Christine Pires-Beaune, Member of Parliament for Puy-de-Dôme; Dominique potier, deputy for Meurthe-et-Moselle; Laurence Rossignol, Senator of the Oise; Sylvie Robert, Senator of Ile-et-Vilaine; Rachid Temal, PS Senator of Val d’Oise


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