A return to school in the form of a social explosion. As the experts feared, the announcements of restructuring or savings plans accumulate in September. If the economic fabric is logically suffering from the crisis engendered by the Covid-19, certain large groups quickly chose to rush into the breach of layoffs. At Auchan, management mentions, among other things, additional costs linked to the pandemic to justify the 1,475 future job cuts. A number of companies such as Derichebourg Aeronautics or Valeo have also embraced collective performance agreements to make working time more flexible. While the social tsunami has barely started, the unions refuse this inevitability of an increase in precariousness, in a context where the government has allocated 100 billion euros for the recovery plan. Today, employees will rally around France at the call of the CGT, FSU, Solidaires and youth organizations to demand that priority be given “to preservation and creation in numbers. stable and qualified jobs ”.
Auchan massive destocking on employment
Blow of bamboo for the personnel of the large distribution set up as “heroes of the everyday life” since the confinement. Last week, Auchan Retail announced the elimination of 1,475 jobs. After-sales services, human resources and even administrative professions are targeted. For the unions, the argument of an additional cost linked to the Covid-19 crisis, advanced by the management, does not hold water. According to Christophe Delay, elected FO to the Central Economic and Social Committee: “The health measures cost them 50 million euros. But with the crisis, the results have never been so good for ten years! If we have multiplied social plans for two years, it is above all to satisfy shareholders. As for the disappearance of positions of cash managers, it is to embark on excessive automation. ”In fact, the rate of return of the flagship brand of the Mulliez family jumped 79% in the first half of 2020, with a gross operating surplus of 1.25 billion euros. Not to mention that Auchan has also received 500 million euros in the competitiveness jobs tax credit (CICE) over the past seven years.
This new plan follows the sale of 21 stores in spring 2019, impacting up to 800 jobs, and a voluntary departure plan of 500 people last January. But the Mulliez family, 6th fortune in France and owner of Auchan, does not intend to stop there. On Monday, the Marseille commercial court validated the takeover of Alinéa, a furniture chain in receivership, by Alexis Mulliez, its current managing director, sealing in the process the dismissal of 992 employees. On the union side, the response is being organized. “The staff who can be served during confinement were thrown away like Kleenex,” explains Gérald Villeroy, central CGT union representative, who will be mobilized today at his store in Noyelles-Godault (Pas-de-Calais). We must establish a strategy with the employees of Happychic, Kiabi, Pimkie, Flunch (part of the Mulliez galaxy – Editor’s note), who have also suffered layoffs. It would be necessary to succeed in having this Mulliez family association recognized as one and the same group so that staff can be reclassified in other brands. “
General Electric a windfall effect
Less than a year after cutting nearly 1,000 jobs in its gas turbine division, the American giant is once again reneging on promises made in 2015 when it bought out Alstom’s energy branch. If no one hoped that the group would fulfill its commitment to create 1,000 jobs, unions and employees have received a new blow in recent days with the announcement of a new layoff plan, with 1,225 job cuts planned in Europe, including 764 in France. This time, it is the renewable energy branch, through the Grid and Hydro activities, which is concerned. The Belfort site, already heavily impacted by the previous plan, would this time see 89 jobs destroyed in the hydropower sector. The Lyon region would be stripped of 350 out of 650 jobs with possible interruptions in the circuit breaker activity in Villeurbanne as well as in after-sales service at the Saint-Priest site.
The management of GE claims to suffer “a complex market dynamic” which generates “significant financial losses”. But for the unions, the argument is a bit quick. “Behind circumstantial economic justifications, GE seeks above all to clear its bad strategic choices and lack of real industrial policy since the takeover of Alstom’s energy activities”, criticizes the CGT. Even the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, last week, criticized the American group among other companies accused of carrying out “windfall social plans”. “For trade unions and employees, other solutions are possible to restore financial balance in the long term. This requires investments in R & D, the strengthening of our French sites, which are today centers of excellence for all our products, and recruitment in failing sectors, ”continues the CGT. “As part of the state recovery plan, the government must intervene quickly with GE, to impose the sustainability of our industrial activities on the territory,” said the union.
Valeo one deal can hide another
At the automotive supplier, no less than four agreements could befall the staff. While Valeo’s management wishes to suspend its contributions to the PEG (group savings plan) and Perco (collective retirement savings plan) funds, it has also imposed the simultaneous negotiation of a collective performance agreement (CPA). and another of competitiveness. On the menu: salary freeze for one year, suspension of profit-sharing in 2021 and 2022, or even the possibility for administrative staff to come in as reinforcement in production … Other measures are destined to continue such as the flexibility of working time. managerial work, increased by three days, or the reduction in retirement benefits. The objective is to save 10% on the payroll, or 100 million euros.
“The company suffered from the health situation but it had strong enough backs to take the blow,” underlines Patrice Caux, CGT coordinator within the group. Valeo did not subscribe to a government guaranteed loan. It is about maintaining their level of cash. Our social gains will be impacted while we have no guarantee of maintaining employment. “On the historic site of Limoges (Haute-Vienne), the situation is all the more misunderstood by the 250 employees as the activity has taken off sharply since July. “About forty temporary workers have returned, we have cash,” assures Jean-Luc Zobèle, central CGT union representative. We only had a few days of partial unemployment here and there from March to June. Nothing justifies this APC. We have done enough. We have just come out of a collective conventional rupture which had cut 22 jobs. That is why it is essential that employees mobilize during the period! “Some of them should disengage this Thursday in Limoges, Angers or Amiens. The CGT hopes that no union will sign these plans on September 27, during the next negotiations.