“Two hundred bullets or no Rafale! The claim, drawn in red on a huge white panel, is placed in front of the Falcon 2000. The plane has been blocked at the end of its assembly line for more than a week by strikers from the Anglet site ( Pyrénées-Atlantiques) of Dassault Aviation. “Since the beginning of December, all Dassault production sites have been blocked. There’s not a plane going out,” argues Christophe Brisé, secretary general of the CGT on the Basque Country site, flanked by Paul Jasper, his CFDT counterpart.
In Anglet, there is no question of entering the factory. The site, which also produces Rafale fighter jets, is classified as a defense secret. Here, as on all the other production sites, the “journeymen”, as the employees of the assembly lines are called at Dassault, have their throats down. “the disastrous wage agreement” signed for 2022 by two trade unions, certainly in the majority, the CFE-CGC and UNSA, but not representative of the workers. They validated a salary increase budget (…) 3.75% for executives and 3.5% for non-executives”, they denounce. In practice, the workers will all receive 1.8%, and the rest of the envelope will be allocated solely on merit.
“Hardest conflict for twenty years”
“The differences in treatment between executives and non-executives, people no longer understand. They are fed up with. They have the impression that we take them for less-than-nothing, launches the cégétiste to the attention of the group’s general management. According to their calculations, companions will only be entitled to « 38 euros » increase, when executives perceive “178 euros on average”. Management recalls that at Dassault Aviation “Employees are paid between fifteen and sixteen months per year thanks to a thirteenth month, profit-sharing bonuses and profit-sharing”.
Not enough to convince the employees who blocked production on the group’s nine industrial sites. “This conflict is the hardest. It’s unheard of for twenty years, “ emphasize the two delegates. At the top of Dassault Aviation, we only count “6% of strikers”, without specifying the proportion of workers on strike, although they represent 1,800 of the 8,500 group employees. The unions, them, count “between 1,000 and 1,200 companions on strike”. “In Anglet alone, 300 out of 400 have stopped working, we are well over 6%”, ironically the two delegates of the CGT and the CFDT.
Inside the factory, the companions maintain “A picket line in front of the Falcon 2000 from 6 am to midnight every day, because we fear that they will make it leave at night”, explains Christophe Brisé. “We know that if we want to get something, we have to block production”, adds the latter. Around the assembly lines, the forms of action evolve every day. Filtering barriers are followed by parades, barbecues or speeches.
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