Between "treason" and "misunderstanding", the criticism is certainly graduated, but the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt was not spared Tuesday, in his working-class town of Annonay (Ardèche), by demonstrators hostile to his reform project retirements.
The tone is set even before the departure of the procession from the bus station, when the union officials follow one another, in the rain.
"Even if the law is passed, we will send Olivier Dussopt back to work in 3X8", launches at the microphone - failing - Raphaël Foïs, secretary of the local Union CGT.
"Olivier? Olivier? Olivier, where are you? You have to stop Olivier, the French can't take any more of your lies, stop being stubborn!" Resumes Pierre Milloud, co-secretary of the FSU-Snuipp of Ardèche, very applauded, like the FO manager who attacks the "Dussopt weather vane".
An allusion to the recent political career of the minister: a long member of the PS, close to his left wing, he joined the government of Edouard Philippe in 2017 as Secretary of State then became Minister of Labor for Elisabeth Borne.
Which earned him harsh words: "Dussopt socialist one day, always traitor", accuses the opening banner deployed by the CGT.
In this city of 16,000 inhabitants, an industrial stronghold where the main private employer is the bus manufacturer Iveco (1,300 employees), the CGT is the main organizer of the demonstration.
His troops occupy the front row, manage the sound system and launch "I'm going back my jacket" by Dutronc. In short, it's "the party in Dussopt", as the flyer for the event indicates, and the former mayor will even have a fireworks display dedicated to the exit of the viaduct which spans the Dôme, shortly after the Iveco factory.
Coming by coach especially, the CGT activists from the nuclear power plants of Cruas (Ardèche) and Saint-Alban (Isère) have their dedicated podium truck. We replay "Santiano", with the refrain: "Olivier screwed you up, betrayed by the child of the country, we will bring down Macronie".
"He forgot that he came from a working-class family. And that his city is above all a working-class city... I have pain everywhere, lumbago, osteo appointments. I can't see myself at all continue like that until 64 years old", insists Delphine Pascal, 43 years old, driver of forklifts at the automotive supplier and trucks STS Composites in Saint-Désirat, a dozen kilometers away.
"I'm 55 and I'm already tired at work. I can't imagine going to 64. In 2010, Dussopt was for retirement at 60. He's no longer a socialist today" and those which he claimed "must be turning in their graves", also says Bruno Mouret, emergency nurse at Annonay hospital.
Some, among the 12,000 demonstrators according to the CGT - record beaten according to the union -, or 5,500 according to the prefecture, have a softer tooth against "the Dussopt man", even if they vigorously fight the reform.
"We don't attack people, it's not in our DNA. Words have meaning, we are not the media lynching", explains Gérard Janvier, from the local office of the CFDT. But he recognizes the "unease" and "misunderstanding" that can cause among activists Olivier Dussopt, "a personality who has worked so much for this territory and finds himself in a government participating in such social regression".
Former companions of the PS, like Gilles Morin, must also learn to compose. "Olivier is a friend and we are always more disappointed when we love someone. This reform does not resemble him, because I know that he has ideas deeply on the left". At his side, behind the Nupes banner, Frédérique Lagier, co-host of the group "Annonay insoumise", also refuses the "personalization of the fight", which does not prevent us from seeing that "many have it across their throats here" .
07/03/2023 19:27:04 - Annonay (France) (AFP) - © 2023 AFP