The political scandal surrounding Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced personal security advisor Alexandre Benalla is centred less on his thuggish behaviour in beating up May Day demonstrators while illegally wearing police insignia but rather on the secrecy of his role and his relationship with the president who afforded the 26-year-old extraordinary powers. Benalla was engaged as a ‘mission leader’ with the presidency, a vague title afforded to a number of other Élysée Palace staff whose activities are largely unaccountable to the public. Mediapart has obtained the employment contracts of Benalla and five other so-called ‘mission leaders’ at the Élysée which reveal how they are exempt from probity law requirements that apply to official advisors. Mathilde Mathieu reports.
The problem of unemployment is France is well-documented and discussed each month when the latest jobless totals are published. Less well-known, however, is the issue of underemployment affecting people on short-term contracts, in temporary jobs, on workplace experience or those trying to become self-employed. As Mathilde Goanec explains, there are two constant factors in this world of workplace insecurity – a rapid turnover in jobs and ever-greater problems in eventually finding full-time fixed employment.
Insecure, short-term work is becoming the norm among many sections of French society. Fixed-term contracts lasting for up to only 18 months, jobs exempted from strict employment rules and temporary work or seasonal posts are now the lot of thousands of workers, particularly women, young people and 'senior citizens' over the age of 50. And this employment 'flexibility' looks set to be extended. Prime minister Manuel Valls has said he is considering plans to adjust the full-time permanent employment contract in France to ensure that bosses of smaller firms are not “bound hand and foot” by rules and regulations. Yet, as the most recent jobless figures show, the labour force flexibility that already exists is singularly failing to dent the relentless march of unemployment in the country. Mediapart's Mathilde Goanec spoke to people on the wrong side of this brave new world of flexible working.