Welcome strike. After visiting Mayotte and making a trip through the Scattered Islands, Emmanuel Macron is expected Wednesday, October 23, on the island of Reunion, where a general strike is scheduled for the occasion. Marked by the beginning of the yellow vests movement, that Reunion was the only overseas territory to know, almost a year ago, the island is still in a situation of acute social crisis.
Emmanuel Macron, traveling in the Indian Ocean, has planned a three-day visit, his first on the ground in Reunion as President of the Republic.
Denouncing social inequality and the high cost of living, all the unions on the island have called for a general strike for Thursday.
"We thus hear, on the occasion of the arrival of the President of the Republic, alert on the social situation of Reunion, the lack of response to the height of the stakes in terms of jobs, wages, pensions, expensive life, housing, public services, unemployment benefits ... and the fact that the policies will make the social problems of the population even worse, "they said.
Despite calls for blocking broadcast on social networks, Vests yellow said they had "no intention to go to contact or clash with the police".
"Things take time and you have to accept it"
Of the 850,000 inhabitants of the island, 40% live below the poverty line, the unemployment rate is 24% or 42% among young people.
Moreover, according to INSEE, the cost of living for an average Reunion household budget is 7.1% higher than in France, while Reunion's median income is 30% lower than the national level (AFD , 2015).
After record inflation in 2018 (+ 1.8%), prices continue to rise in 2019 (+ 0.6% since the beginning of the year).
"We were counting our pennies before the Yellow Vests, we count them even more now," kicks Kevin, who participated in the movement a year ago.
Emmanuel Macron recognizes it: "Reunion has been jostled by very important social conflicts", and the problem of "the expensive life remains essential", he declared Tuesday evening during a press conference in Mayotte.
"The situation is not easy, there is a doubt that has settled on public action in the broad sense," he said. "But here too, we have commitment, answers and action," he said. "But sometimes things take time and you have to accept it."
"Strong messages on agriculture and employment"
Among the answers proposed by the Head of State, the establishment of a device "Choose The Meeting". With the participation of about fifty French and foreign investors, this economic forum aims to strengthen the attractiveness of the territory and "project Reunion economic actors" to neighboring regions, southern Africa and the Indian subcontinent . The goal ? "Promote the assets of the island with concrete projects that will be announced," says the Elysee.
During his stay, which will end on Friday, the president, accompanied notably by the ministers of Economy, Labor and Agriculture, should meet Thursday job seekers at a local mission in Saint-Paul ( north-west), meet with participants in the new "citizen representations" set up after the Yellow Vests crisis, and have a picnic with representatives of the local agricultural production sectors in Petite-île (south).
"I will have very strong messages on agriculture and employment," assured the head of state.
This visit to Reunion comes after a brief stop on Wednesday morning, Glorious Islands, archipelago Scattered Islands administered by France and presumed rich in hydrocarbons.