Infotech Paris, Montreuil… The symbolic closures of town halls on January 31 criticized

Paris, Montreuil… The symbolic closures of town halls on January 31 criticized

Paris, Montreuil, but also Saint-Paul (Reunion)… Dozens of mayors will ” to close symbolically their town hall”Tuesday, January 31, in support of the mobilizations against the pension reform, with an impact most often minimal but which arouses controversy.

For’“increase mobilization” and “out of solidarity”the national secretary of the PCF Fabien Roussel called on the mayors to close “many more” their town hall on January 31, if only “two to three hours” to allow the agents to demonstrate. He had also called on the mayors to put up banners on the pediments of their town halls and to “give hours” to allow officers to “protest without loss of pay”.

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Since then, the appeal has spread and many town halls, including Paris, have declared themselves “solidarity town halls”. The capital’s town hall will thus remain closed to the public, except for a place of reception for homeless women, but the announcement remains symbolic insofar as it does not house a civil status service. In the Parisian districts, only the town halls held by the left will join the event, but their doors will remain open.

Opponent LR Aurélien Véron sees a “dangerous communication stunt” in the fact of “taking a town hall and using it as a political tool”.

“Strong symbolic act”

Several city councilors do not plan to close but will mobilize differently. In Allonnes (Sarthe), PCF mayor Gilles Leproust, for example, distributed leaflets with other elected officials in front of schools and a market. “to mobilize”.

In the North, the LFI mayor of Faches-Thumesnil Patrick Proisy announced on Twitter that he would not “would not count the strike hours of municipal agents from 2 p.m. onwards so that they could go to the Lille demonstration”. To which the Macronist deputy Karl Olive immediately replied: “With his personal money or the money of the State? »

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In the majority, the Minister of Transport Clément Beaune taxed “surreal” these initiatives. “A town hall that decides for everyone if he or she goes on strike is unacceptable and it is a total confusion of minds”, he told the Grand Jury on Sunday. He called on the “republican executive” and in particular to the “public service neutrality”. “It is not up to a mayor, who is an agent of the State, to decide that a public service, because he or she is for or against a reform, closes for all. »

Questioning the legality of these closures, the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt (ex-PS) pointed to a problem of “neutrality”.

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In the Val-de-Marne, Bonneuil-sur-Marne will be on his side “dead town hall” with only “technical and administrative constraints”, PCF Mayor Denis Ötzorun announced. In response to criticism of the non-respect of neutrality, he questions: “Since when are mayors neutral? ». “Closing is a strong symbolic act. We will end up with agents who do difficult jobs like Atsem and maintenance agents, and who, after 50 years, can sometimes no longer work.he argued to AFP.

In Villejuif (Val-de-Marne), the PCF mayor Pierre Garzon will mobilize “many cars” from the town hall to join the Parisian procession.

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“No obligation” for a town hall to remain open

When questioned, the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) assures that it does not “don’t take sides” in the name of the free administration of communities while recognizing that this type of initiative “is not in the DNA of mayors”.

For Jean-Paul Markus, professor of public law at Paris-Saclay, closing a strike day can effectively “pose a problem of neutrality because it is akin to a disguised subsidy to strikers”even if he recognizes “there is no case law”. “If we close the town hall, we ensure that the withholding does not apply. It is a way of financing the strikers and it is contrary to the principle of neutrality”he points out.

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There is, however, no ” no obligation “ for a town hall to remain open since services that cannot be interrupted, such as the distribution of drinking water, are limited.

However, restricting opening hours can only be done in the name “general interest”comments Mathilde Philip-Gay, professor of public law at Lyon 3. “But this is a political interest, the risk is that it will be considered as a misuse of power in administrative law”she says.

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