This Thursday, April 30, the unions must meet with Édouard Philippe to discuss the terms of recovery while the deconfinement is approaching. The Prime Minister made social dialogue ” an imperative condition (…) to allow return to work in a framework that guarantees the health and safety of employees

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The conditions for recovery depend very much on the state of social dialogue even before the health crisis. At the Toyota factory in Onnaing (North), if work has been able to resume partially, it is partly thanks to a culture of exchange that has existed for a long time.

A constraint or a partnership

Ditto at PSA where Olivier Lefebvre, central union representative FO, recognizes a good level of listening ” “ The quality of our exchanges owes to the construction of new models of social dialogue seven years ago, when the group was in bad shape, estimates the trade unionist. Today, our demands on the leadership of PSA – like those of other unions – are not overwhelming, which helps this listening environment. “

Conversely, Amazon, where the social climate is tense to say the least, was quickly pinned down. “ It is always more complicated to come and find the staff representatives, in the midst of a crisis if they have been snubbed until then, notes Olivier Laviolette, member of the management committee of Syndex, an advisory body for staff representation bodies. Even if it can also be an opportunity to improve.

If the employer sees social dialogue as a constraint, it is necessarily worse than if it is a real partnership “Sums up Muriel Besnard, labor lawyer at the human resources consultant ADP.

High-level discussions and the reality on the ground

At the SNCF, where meetings are scheduled this Thursday, April 30 to consider the resumption of traffic, they say they want ” involve unions as much as possible ” ” In recent weeks, the dialogue has been somewhat quieted, said a source at the headquarters of the railway company. No one refused to participate, and even the decision to lay off staff members on a permanent basis, with the salary maintained, was ultimately quite well passed. “

After years of very conflicting social relations, the will of Jean-Pierre Farandou, who arrived at the helm of the SNCF in November 2019, to rebuild a more serene relationship with the unions had to play », says Gilles Dansart, director of the site specializing in Mobilettre transport.

According to an officer from the CFDT railroad workers, the agents also demonstrated responsibility. ” If there is a hardening of the situation, it will probably be done from the field “Says Gilles Dansart, who does not exclude that agents exercise a right of withdrawal in the event of an influx of travelers.

Confidence at all levels will be decisive for recovery, supports Bernard Vivier, director of the Higher Institute of Labor, a private research center on social relations. Whatever the company, if the employees believe that the reopening is carried out for a logic of production at all costs, this will not pass.

Lack of equipment on construction sites

Worries about the future of the company and the loss of short-time working wages sometimes push workers to agree to return to work. ” Guys are going to work the fear in their stomachs, but they are in a hurry to resume for financial reasons, even if they take risks “Explains Frédéric Mau, CGT delegate at Eurovia, the Vinci subsidiary specializing in road construction.

On construction sites, it is sometimes difficult to implement barrier gestures and to respect distances. On some sites, workers change at the foot of their car, to limit contact. Protective equipment continues to be lacking, even if large groups are gradually refueling. ” We are still on stocks built up at the time of the H1N1 flu, which are theoretically obsolete since 2012 “, Asserts Frédéric Mau.

ESCs facing the crisis

The lack of clear information is also hampering recovery. Guides, coordinated between the branches and the Ministry of Labor, provide welcome support, but around thirty are still to be published. ” Employers have to study each work situation to take appropriate measures, it’s ant labor ”, point Muriel Besnard. Claude Cham, president of the federation of industries and equipment for vehicles, confirms: The branch agreements are interesting but the most important thing is the company agreement, as close to the field as possible. “

The staff representative bodies themselves also need to adjust, after the merger into a single CSE (social and economic committee) last year. ” Now only establishments with more than 300 employees are required to have a health and safety commission, explains Olivier Laviolette. And in the ESCs, elected officials are poorly trained in these questions because many are members of former works councils, and not former health and safety committees. “

The responsibility of business leaders

For the expert, the ESCs have resulted in ” less proximity between employees and their representation “Which must be corrected by the creation of an ad hoc committee which would monitor the implementation of the protection measures as closely as possible to the employees. Some business leaders have already appointed “Covid referrals”. ” Please note, this referent is an aid to resumption of activity but does not exonerate managers from their duty to protect employees “, Warns Émilie Saliou, human resources manager within the firm Exco.

There needs to be a clear regulatory framework; bosses question us about their responsibility “Reports Claude Cham. Same concern in small construction companies. ” Business leaders are reluctant to leave, even if the government pushes them, for fear of being held liable in the event of a problem », Underlines Pascal Barbey, national secretary of the construction federation at the CFDT.

Employers have an obligation of means, no result, recalls Muriel Besnard. But it is still necessary to have these financial, human and equipment means. “


Unequal jobs faced with the virus

France Strategy offers a typology of jobs hit by the Covid-19 crisis, in a study published Wednesday April 29:

4.2 million “forever vulnerable”. Often of precarious status, they are mainly men, craftsmen and workers in industry and construction.
4.3 million “new vulnerable”. In contact with the public, often independent, they are economically fragile.
10.4 million professionals on the “front”, which combine exposure to the virus and intensification of work (health, distribution).
3.9 million people telework, often executives, exposed to the risk of hyperconnectivity.

4 million intermediate professions, mostly in partial inactivity, with a risk of leaving the professional sphere.


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