Is it legal to shut down municipalities against pension reform?

Fabien Roussel’s address to the mayors was heard by “hundreds” of city council members, according to a Communist official. He asked for a symbolic shutdown this Tuesday in solidarity with the new mobilization against pension reform, which faces stiff opposition. Several town halls followed in the footsteps of Anne Hidalgo, who was elected PS of Paris enough to provoke anger in the government.

Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt raised the issue of “neutrality” and said, “I have a little feeling that the mayor of Paris is confusing municipal services with the addition of the Socialist Party.” Does closing down town halls in support of the strike movement really create a neutrality problem? Are they just legal? What legal issues do they raise? “The decision to close city buildings can be challenged, the act can be appealed,” he decides 20 minutes Anne-Andrea Vilerio, public lawyer.

What exactly are these parcels?

Anne Hidalgo, who was elected from the capital, was the first to respond to Fabien Roussel, followed by several municipalities. As for Paris City Hall, the Hôtel de Ville will be closed to the public all day, as well as for the exhibition. capital letters) City art and two posters titled “Municipality in solidarity with social movement” will be installed on the facade, the city told AFP. A “women’s parking lot” will be available for homeless women only. A “broad invitation” to telecommuting is also given to non-demanding agents. However, city officials who cannot work by phone will be able to visit City Hall. On the other hand, it is up to each of them to decide whether or not to close the district municipalities. In the latter case, citizenship status will remain open and marriages will continue to be insured.

In Val-de-Marne, the mayor of Bonneuil-sur-Marne, Denis Öztorun Ömür, decided to symbolically close the town hall. Fontenay-sous-Bois, Ivry-sur-Seine and Villejuif have announced the closure of municipal services. Parisian. At the same time, the LFI mayor of Montreuil, Lens and Faches-Thumesnil (Nord), Patrick Proisy, announced that the holiday hours of his city’s agents would not be counted from 14:00, so that they could go to the demonstration in the afternoon. Lil”.

Is it legal to close the town hall in support of a social movement?

It is a rare move, if not completely unprecedented, to see municipalities mobilize against a government reform project in this way. If it could be negotiated in the context of political conflict, “expressed support” for the strikers, according to historian and social movement expert Stefan Sirot, 20 minutes, is more controversial at the level of law. It is even likely that there will be appeals especially from members of the municipal council.

As Anne-Andrea Villerio recalls, the Lyon administrative appeals court in 2018 ruled that the partial closure of public services was illegal. “The mayor of Grenoble participated in a national movement of a political nature against the reduction of state grants decided by the government. Such a reason, which is foreign to the interest of the municipality or the proper functioning of municipal services, is likely to taint this decision with illegality,” we can read in the decision.

Moreover, if the decision taken in solidarity with the January 31 strike movement tends not to punish the strikers financially, this can be interpreted as “hidden state subsidies”, and the latter “should never be allocated for political purposes”. His part contacted Jean-Paul Marcus, professor of public law at the University of Paris-Saclay 20 minutes. In addition, the decision of Faches-Thumesnil city hall not to count holiday hours from 14:00 is contrary to the principle of “served”, that is, “we cannot pay the agent if the service is not provided”. .

What is the principle of neutrality?

The “principle of neutrality” of people and public officials put forward by the Minister of Labor is expressed in the law with the nuance of Anne-Andrea Vilerio within the framework of secularism. However, the precedent law of the Council of State narrowly frames this principle of neutrality in order to “prevent the use of civil service for political propaganda purposes”. “The principle of neutrality of public services is against placing signs symbolizing claims of political, religious or philosophical opinion on public buildings,” the State Council decided in 2005. The law, which will be installed on the facade of the Paris city hall, is likely to be opposed again.

If the mayor is a political figure chosen because of some program or political affiliation and has “full freedom of expression”, he is also an administrative agent and in this sense “must be neutral in his administrative mission”. , developing Jean-Paul Marcus.

But for Stéphane Sirot, the move to close town halls is “part of the balance of power that is also played out in the political sphere, and those who are offended are mainly elected officials or majority leaders.” And to emphasize that “the government is also far from respecting neutrality when it sends e-mails to civil servants to explain the reform that has not yet been voted on.” It remains to be seen whether city councilors will attempt legal action to challenge the planned closures on Tuesday.

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