Greenpeace France, a company like any other, with work overload and difficult social climate

“I put myself in Patrick Pouyanné’s place [PDG du groupe TotalEnergies]who will have a good laugh reading the article…” Monday September 25, in a weekly meeting and in a tense atmosphere, the general director of Greenpeace France, Jean-François Julliard, regrets the attitude of the employees who spoke to the Worldarguing that an article against the structure will harm the collection of donations. “I told them I was sad and angry, and that speaking to the press was a risky exercise”Jean-François Julliard justifies himself.

Around twenty testimonies from employees, ex-employees and activists report a high workload and a very difficult social climate in the French office of the international NGO, which has 150 people on permanent contracts. Almost all of them wished to remain anonymous, for fear of consequences on their careers.

Anger is also brewing among the volunteers, who feel that they no longer have a say: Karine Michils, activist and resigning member of the statutory assembly – which represents the members -, was to send a letter to all members on Wednesday October 4 , to denounce a “denial of democracy”. She particularly deplores the opacity of management regarding each question asked in the meeting: “I was told that I was aggressive and not caring. I joined Greenpeace to fight multinationals, but I’ve fought one multinational so far, it’s Greenpeace. »

More union members

The difficulty in expressing oneself internally reveals a paradox, between the illusion of evolving in a large family, where one “washes your dirty laundry with your family”, and the reality of the association’s management, sometimes judged to be absent, sometimes brutal, and not really appreciating criticism. An employee who has been with the structure for several years mentions ” discomfort “ when members of management discuss in the common areas of the headquarters. “We are hired because we are vindictive people, who want to act… But as soon as we point out something internally, we are attacked and made to understand that we are privileged compared to other associations”deplores an employee.

However, for twenty years, Greenpeace France’s workforce has continued to grow, and its structure has become closer to a traditional company: birth of an HR department, creation of middle management positions and strict delimitation of each person’s scope. in 2015… Which generated frequent conflicts between divisions or employees, sometimes arbitrated in an authoritarian manner by management, as well as an increase in meetings and validation processes before carrying out an action or producing a report.

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