No fuel taxes or Macron’s head: What do the ‘yellow vests’ actually want?

No fuel taxes or Macron's head: What do the 'yellow vests' actually want?
Photo: AFP
The 'yellow vests' movement might have been sparked in response to the rising cost of diesel and gas in France but as time has gone on the demands and ambitions of the protest movement have grown to encompass much more than the price of fuel. Here's a look at their demands.

The 'yellow vests' have published a list of demands on social media, revealing once and for all that their grievances are far bigger and more complex than the rising cost of fuel.

The list, which was sent to Environment Minister Francois de Rugy, was created based on a survey posted on various 'yellow vest' groups online, with around 30,000 people believed to have taken part. 
The two main demands are to reduce all taxes and to create a “citizens' assembly”.
But already it looks like they might struggle to secure at least one of these. 
The president made it clear that the hike in fuel taxes on diesel and petrol that will come into force in January, will not be scrapped but they could be reduced when there are spikes in the price of petrol.
“What I've taken from these last few days is that we shouldn't change course because it is the right one and necessary,” he said. 
Meanwhile, their other demands challenge how the French government systems works, inequality and financial vulnerability. 

'Yellow vests': 80 percent of French people consider Macron's measures 'insufficient'Photo: AFP

Transport and the environment
These included reducing the the ecological tax (known as the TICPE), which makes up the largest share of the price of a litre of fuel, scrapping the bill to ban non-road diesel which is used by farmers and scrapping the ban on the glyphosate weedkiller which is suspected to be carcinogenic. 
They have also demanded a complete abandonment of the plan to replace people's petrol cars with more environmentally-friendly electric cars, which are seen by many as too costly, and an end to the marketing of biofuels. 
Institutional reforms
Meanwhile, some of their demands covered institutional reforms. 
These included consulting the French people more frequently on policies, for example by holding national and local referendums, suppression of the French Senate, whose members are indirectly elected by elected officials.
In a similar vein, they also ask that blank votes are counted in elections and that French laws should be put forward by the citizens themselves. 
Regarding employment and businesses, the 'yellow vests' are demanding a decrease in payroll taxes for employers (cotisations sociales), and increased public financial aid for permanent hiring on fixed-term contracts as well as for apprenticeship contracts. 
This includes hiring people with reduced mobility. 
'We won't cut fuel taxes': Macron responds to 'yellow vest' demands
Photo: AFP
They would also like to see an increase in the minimum wage, known as the SMIC in France, which currently sits at €7.83 an hour or €1,188 a month, to €1,300 per month, as well as an increase in the household allowance. 
The 'yellow vests' would also like to see help for people to return to employment and training to help people change careers and they would like gender equality to be respected, with employees with the same qualifications and positions to be paid the same wage whether or not they are male or female.
Fight against vulnerability
Some of the demands of the gilets jaunes were concerned with protecting people against falling into a financially vulnerable situation. 
The protest group outlined the most urgent of these as having zero homeless people in France. 
Among these were increasing pensions and an end to special retirement plans which are awarded to employees of some government-owned corporations.
On a similar note, they want retirement to be calculated in the same way for everyone.     
They'd also like to see a reassessment of France's personal housing allowance (APL) and an increase in financial assistance for housing, transport and cultural activities for students.
They want everyone to be on the same social security system, including artisans and auto entrepreneurs and an end to RSI, the French social security scheme for independent traders and freelancers.
The gilets jaunes have also asked that asylum seekers are treated well, saying that France owes them housing, security, food and education.


Photo: AFP
Consumerism and industry
The 'yellow vests' want people to favour small businesses in villages and city centres and for the construction of large commercial areas around major cities to stop due to the fact that they kill small businesses. 
They are also demanding more free parking in city centres. 
Along similar lines, they'd like large companies such as McDonalds, Amazon, Google and Carrefour to pay high taxes and smaller companies, including artisans to pay lower taxes. 
They are also calling for better protection over French industry, including banning companies from relocating, arguing that protecting French industry means protecting French know-how and our jobs.
Public spending
When it comes to public spending, the 'yellow vests' have some firm ideas about how to adapt it. 
They want to see a significant reduction in the salaries of members of the government, as well as the abolition of certain privileges, such as allowances, and for expenses claimed by elected officials to be controlled. 
More specifically, any elected representative will be entitled to the median salary and their transport costs will be monitored and reimbursed if they are justified. They will also have the right to restaurant tickets.
They have also called for an end to austerity. 
Education, culture and health
They'd like people with disabilities to be included in all areas of society and for everybody to have access to culture.
And they want an end to article 80, a controversial measure which private ambulance companies worry will threaten their jobs, as hospitals are now under the obligation to put out calls for tender for transport contracts.
What the 'yellow vests' say (according to their eponymous clothing)
Often one of the easiest ways to understand what a protest movement wants is by looking at the slogans on their clothing. 
In the photo below, a man wears a vest, saying “Macron, resign. Stop the carnage. The people decide, not you”. 
Photo: AFP
The man's sign in the image below reads: “Macron killed me, Grandpa is warming himself by candlelight.”
Photo: AFP
“This is too much,” reads the gilet jaune below. 
Photo: AFP
'Yellow vest' protesters wearing jackets reading “enough taxes” and “angry worker, stop taxes”.
Photo: AFP

Member comments

  1. How is all this going to be implemented.? The requests/demands are unsustainable. They must
    have a plan or they are just dreamers, not jokers.

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