“With everything that has happened, the atmosphere will never be the same again”

From the memory of a journalist, we had never seen that in a social conflict: a press conference of non-striking employees. It took place on Friday May 26, in the Vertbaudet logistics warehouse, in Marquette-lez-Lille (Nord). The same one that is in the spotlight because of the emblematic strike carried out for more than two months by 72 employees for salary increases – the agreement of compulsory annual negotiations (NAO), signed at the beginning of March by the unions FO and CFTC, provides only bonuses.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The strike at the Vertbaudet clothing company, a local battle that has become national

Who took the initiative for this conference? Officially, non-strikers wishing to “react” to “trade union and political statements from the beginning of the week” – there were rallies in support of the strike in Tourcoing (Nord) and in Paris. But the help provided by management blurs the framework of the exchange. It was an email from the communication department that invited the journalists. And, on Friday morning, a management assistant guides them through the warehouse. “Because the employees are still at their post”she explains when we are surprised.

Precisely, a call rings out for them in the loudspeakers: “Your attention please, a communication will take place in C1 at 9:25 a.m.” The C1 is where a few chairs have been lined up to accommodate the press, in front of a desk and a microphone. About two hundred people converge on the space bounded by pallets and piles of folded cardboard, not so far from the total non-striking workforce (255 employees).

Sincere words

Do they even know why they come? “Management will communicate about the conflict, right? They do this regularly., believes a small group of temporary workers. How many are they, moreover, not yet secured by a CDI, we ask? Slowly, hands go up: half of the assembly.

The conference begins. FO and CFTC delegates do not take part. Only three employees speak in turn. Their sincerity is beyond doubt. First Caroline Binot, packaging for twenty-two years. “This strike, I could have gone there. The 0% increase, I too had trouble swallowing it, she explains. But the NAO had ended two weeks before, the moment was no longer opportune. And then, I saw external support, from the CGT, preventing trucks from driving quite violently. And the two intrusions, it was extremely trying, we felt attacked. »

Also read the report: Article reserved for our subscribers “After 23 years, I am paid as if I had just arrived”: in the Vertbaudet company, a long strike for a wage increase

On April 11 and 14, according to management, outsiders committed damage and violence on the site and six people were taken care of. ” in a state of shock ” by firefighters. “When we hear calls for a boycott, it worries us, adds the employee. This society is what makes us live! » Louisa, quality controller since 2002, rises up against the ” lies “ on social networks: “The hierarchy does not treat us like slaves. It’s not my experience. I have never been martyred. »

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