The National Commission for Meal Vouchers (CNTR) opposes the government. For this joint body which supervises restaurant vouchers, continuing the use of this means of payment for food shopping could risk causing the loss of this system, it warns in a press release published this Tuesday. “The positive action of the meal voucher is no longer to be emphasized, its use extended to all food products leads to the gradual disappearance of the meal break, a French cultural tradition,” deplores the CNTR. “It is essential that the use of meal vouchers remains reserved for the acquisition of meals consumed in restaurants or immediately consumable food preparations,” adds the organization, while the National Assembly must examine on Thursday the extension into 2024 of the possibility of paying for all food shopping with meal vouchers, supposed to expire on January 1st.
In a context of inflation, several political voices, including that of the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, have spoken out in favor of perpetuating the possibility of shopping for food with meal vouchers. The restaurateurs are against, the chef Thierry Marx, president of the main employers' union in the hotel and catering industry, Umih, having asked last week to be received "as soon as possible" by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne to discuss it.
The CNTR, created by the public authorities, is placed under the dual supervision of the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of the Economy. It involves all stakeholders in the system (employers, employees, traders, issuers) and provides information, decision-making and control. “Within the company, this questioning of the meal break leads to a deterioration of working conditions, a source of decline in French productivity and therefore of deterioration of the French economy,” underlines the organization.
If “expanding the use of meal vouchers to all food products is understood for cyclical reasons linked to the economic crisis”, “instituting this extension in a long-term manner structurally calls into question the system”, he points out. . With the “risk that its tax exemption for the employee and social exemption for the employer will then be abolished: such examples in Europe have existed, leading to the system running out of steam,” continues the organization. The CNTR “wishes to affirm” the “fundamental role” of the meal voucher “while promoting its modernization”, a point on which the organization recalls being in discussion with the Minister for Commerce Olivia Grégoire.