Section Agence France-Presse du Syndicat national des journalistes
Agence France-Presse Branch of the French National Journalists' Union (SNJ)
News & Views
Works Committee Delegates Confirm Emergency Procedure over Management Plan
The AFP Works Committee (Comité d’entreprise, CE) met in a special session this Thursday within the framework of the emergency procedure (droit d’alerte) set in motion on November 27.
Given the unsatisfactory nature of the answers provided by management to the questions submitted by the elected delegates, the committee resolved to draw up a report on the company’s situation and the impact of the measures called for under the Aims and Means Contract (COM) with the state.
The elected delegates represented on the committee adopted, by seven votes in favour and one abstention, a resolution on the situation (see below).
The said resolution corresponds to the first vote taken by the committee under the emergency procedure. The CGT union confederation wishes to make clear that, contrary to what was stated by management in a note sent out on the wires, three of its four elected delegates on the committee voted in favour of the resolution, with only one abstaining.
Under Article L. 432-5 of the French labour laws, which lays down the regulations for the emergency "droit d’alerte" procedure, elected representatives first submit a list of questions to management. If they then consider the answers to be unsatisfactory they may draw up a report with the help of an expert.
Contrary to what management has stated, the current procedure can in no way be considered a form of obstruction. While the use of the procedure does not in any way prevent management from pushing ahead with its plans, it does allow staff, via their elected delegates, to carry out a "whole truth" operation on the company’s situation and on the consequences of management plans which they see as "worrying."
What on the other hand is obstructive is the CEO’s stated refusal to foot the bill for the procedure, against the provisions of the Labour Code. That provides a new example of management’s idea of dialogue: seeking to financially block this elementary right provided for by labour law.
It in fact constitutes an offence of obstruction (délit d’entrave) to the operations of the works committee, which the representatives will not hesitate to defend if management persists in its refusal.
Herewith the resolution adopted by the Committee’s elected delegates:
"The elected Works Committee delegates have taken note of the answers provided by management.
"They consider that management has not provided satisfactory answers to their questions and concerns, particularly regarding the social measures called for under the Aims and Means Contract (COM), the realism of the projections cited by management and the company’s true situation.
"They hereby decide, as they are authorized to do under the internal emergency procedure laid down in Article L. 432-5 of the Labour Code, to draw up a report. To that end they will be assisted by the A PRIME consultancy.
"The said report will aim to carry out a "whole truth" operation on AFP’s true situation and the origins of the catastrophic situation in which the company finds itself.
"The report should also analyse the accuracy and pertinence of the answers provided by management within the framework of the COM plan, and notably the consequences of the project for both AFP’s basic missions and the working conditions and remuneration of its staff.
"The report should therefore study the impact of the possible outsourcing of certain tasks, of content partnerships and other types of delegated coverage, in the announced strategy of refocusing AFP on Europe.
"While maintaining their condemnation of the financial expedient which consists of selling the headquarters building, the elected representatives wish, via the report, to obtain insights into the way in which management intends to use the funds thereby made available.
"Lastly, the representatives are also concerned by the consequences of the COM on the company’s overall volume of wages and by the other expedient, which in this case is aimed at staff, put forward by management on Tuesday and aimed at setting up a new early departure scheme. The latter to replace the defunct CATS (early cessation of activity) scheme."
(Translation, including all quoted extracts, by the AFP SNJ branch)
Joint unions (CGT - CFDT - FO - SNJ - SUD)
11 December 2003