ECONOMY: According to Roland Lescure, “we can do better in France to support businesses”

The chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee of the National Assembly made a trip worthy of a minister, this Tuesday, March 22, to Dijon, to the Agro Market and to the CCI Métropole de Bourgogne.

By presenting himself at the CCI Métropole de Bourgogne, this Tuesday, March 22, 2022 in Dijon, for exchanges focused on the results of the economic measures implemented during Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term, Roland Lescure thus went to meet the 50,000 companies of Côte-d’Or and Saône-et-Loire that the consular chamber represents.

Reserve period requires, the meeting took place behind closed doors. Following the visit to the companies Salaisons dijonnaises, Vitalfa, Apidis and Caves Carrière established in the agro-food market, the deputy for the first constituency of French people living abroad (Canada and the United States) and president of the Economic Affairs Committee at the National Assembly returned to the nature of the exchanges.

Visit “outside the walls” of the Economic Affairs Committee

“Since I was elected – I come from the business world, I was in Montreal for about ten years before arriving in France – I find that the major challenge of the National Assembly, in particular, and of the government in general is to be away from the field. So I want to make sure that everything we voted for finds its way into the field with companies.”

“With the Economic Affairs Committee, we made visits outside the walls. With a few local deputies, we organize a visit like today, we seek to see emblematic companies and representatives of intermediary bodies.

“Thank you also for the recruitments”

“First, thank you for everything you had done. For five years, we used to say that we had to face quite a few crises, but [les chefs d’entreprises] too. We have companies that have been able to readapt, companies that have been able to reinvent themselves, companies that have been able to treat their employees well in the face of a historic health crisis and which, now, with the crisis in Ukraine, are facing difficulties in ‘supply and rise of raw materials.’

“Two, thank you also for the recruitments because we are on a historically low unemployment rate in France. We have the modesty to think that it is partly thanks to what we have implemented but also, obviously, thanks to the companies.

“I wanted to hear them on the results of this five-year term to hear them on what has been done well, less well done. Possibly think about the future, in case we have to do an additional mandate. And discuss a little about the first hypotheses that we have on the campaign which opens and the program which presented last week.

“Companies recognize that we have done the job”

“[En Côte-d’Or]companies recognize that we have done the job. Especially during the health crisis and beyond. Apprenticeship, vocational training, lower taxes including production taxes, labor market reform… have been extremely appreciated.

“We had a small remark, quite acceptable, from the president of the CCI on the fact that we have cut the means of the chambers of commerce quite a bit. (;..) Everyone recognizes that there were reforms to be made which were made for most of the chambers of commerce to improve operations and lower costs, but it is clear that we have put a little pressure in the tube.

“We will have to simplify so that we change the culture of the administration”

“There are strong expectations about administrative simplification. It is a major challenge of the quinquennium which will open up regardless of the person who will be in charge and the majority who will accompany him. We are going to have to simplify-simplify-simplify so that we change the culture of the administration a little so that we move from an administration that is often a little focused on control to an administration that is perhaps a little more focused on accompaniment on the service. (…) I was in business for about ten years in Canada, I think we can do better in France to support companies.”

“Train the less young who are no longer suited to the needs of companies”

“The lowering of charges is always a small subject. People recognize that we have come a good part of the way, but there is still a little to do, particularly in terms of production taxes. That’s good, we plan to do it if we are re-elected.

To reach one million apprentices, “we will have to support the youngest, especially in vocational high schools, to bring the company into the school. (…) We can do better to simplify relations between school and business”.

To further reduce the level of unemployment, “we have to manage to train young people, in particular but sometimes the not so young who are no longer suited to the needs of companies today, to ensure a transition to the jobs that companies wish to provide”.

“Then, we have a geographical mobility issue. There are areas in France where there is more than 10% unemployment and there are areas where there is less than 6%, as is the case [en Côte-d’Or]. We need to be able to promote the mobility of French men and women. There are housing policy issues, it’s difficult to find housing when you find a job in Dijon and live in Maubeuge. Issues related to the guarantee of rents, we have taken some measures in this direction but I think we can do more.

“Integrating a relationship with work that has changed a little in the younger generations”

On the question of remuneration, “the salary policy is done in the branches and I do not believe that this evening the State which must decree the salary increases. The state can give companies tools to improve remuneration: profit-sharing, participation, the so-called Macron bonus that the candidate has announced that he wants to triple in the event that he is re-elected.

“Faced with a tight labor market, companies have understood that it is undoubtedly necessary to pay a little more – but it is up to them to do so – but, above all, that the new generations are not necessarily only in search of remuneration: working conditions, the quality of working relations, the way in which working hours are adapted… (…) Companies must integrate a relationship to work which has changed a little in the younger generations .”

The “long time” of “family capitalism”

“I’m a big fan of family capitalism, we don’t have enough of it in France. (…) It’s the best way, for me, to have real long-term capitalism. We are no longer at the time of the blast furnaces and the paternalistic capitalism that we had at the beginning of the last century. We have moved into a much more modern capitalism, where working conditions are important or the consideration of environmental issues.

“Basically, we often complain that capital is oriented in the very short term, especially on the stock markets. (…) When you are in family capitalism – we have seen it with entrepreneurs who are Salaisons dijonnaises or Apidis who are over five generations – we are on a real long time. I am convinced that the responsible capitalism that I call for – I was the general rapporteur for the PACTE law [NDLR : Loi relative à la croissance et la transformation des entreprises du 22 mai 2019] – requires one thing: to lengthen everyone’s horizon.

“If your capital is patient in the long term, if your only interest is to ensure the sustainability of the company, inevitably the environmental risk, the health risk, the social risk, you will integrate it. If you are able to align the interest of the company with your employees by giving profit-sharing, participation, obviously the employees will feel more concerned by the future of the company and work there in a more mobilized.”

“Customers are the same. They are looking for quality products, produced responsibly. If we manage to align everyone’s horizon towards a longer-term horizon, I think we will be able to make capitalism more responsible. (…) Family capitalism is one of the key factors to arrive on this path.”

Interview by Jean-Christophe Tardivon

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