In Marseille, the garbage collectors’ strike takes hold

The mistral has risen in Marseille and is spinning the contents of the garbage cans which invade a large part of the city. Six days after the launch of a strike which strongly mobilizes the waste collection and cleaning services of the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis (AMP), community and unions remain irreconcilable on the reform of the working time of agents. On Wednesday 29 September, after a twenty-four hour break in negotiations, all the trade unions were received – still separately – by the director general of AMP services, Domnin Rauscher. “There has been a first step, but it is not yet sufficient”, notes Serge Tavano, general secretary of the FSU-Territoriaux union. “The tone has changed. We are on a stage which is going for the better, but still very far from an agreement ”, believes Patrick Rué, his counterpart Force Ouvrière, the strongest union power in the metropolis.

The 2019 Civil Service Transformation Law obliges all civil servants to work 1,607 hours per year from 1is January 2022, except exemption due to the arduous nature of the trades. After having put the collection file on hold for a long time, the metropolis chaired by Martine Vassal (Les Républicains) proposed, on September 16, to reorganize the work of its 3,658 agents to the tune of 1,530 annual hours. That is to say 5% less than the legal time, to take into account the harshness of the daily life of the drivers of dumpsters and the ripeurs. In the depots, where the finite-party system continues – this arrangement which always allows officials to stop their day once their tour is over – and the statutes inherited from the six previous inter-municipal authorities, this proposal has had the effect of bomb. Unions and agents calculate that the new organization would increase daily working time by more than two hours and lose between seven and twenty-eight days of compensatory leave.

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If it does not let go of its objective of 1,530 hours, the metropolis has been enhancing it since Wednesday with several developments. “Nine days of compensatory rest per year, the opening of a time savings account, a support component for the retraining of agents …”, Égrène Roland Mouren, vice-president of AMP in charge of waste, also mayor of the small town of Châteauneuf-les-Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône). “We are given 9 days of rest in exchange for seventeen minutes of work more per day, it is not a step forward”, account the secretary general FSU-Territoriaux, who, as Force Ouvrière, proposes an agreement to 1,460 annual hours and the maintenance of the current rests.

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