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Do we have reason to be optimistic about public transport during the Olympics, like the government?

“There will be no strike (.

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Do we have reason to be optimistic about public transport during the Olympics, like the government?

“There will be no strike (...) I do not believe for a single moment that the workers, the employees, the unions will endanger the image of France,” said Patrice Vergriete on France Inter this Wednesday. Asked about the possibility of a strike at the SNCF as well as at the RATP during the Paris Olympic Games this summer, the Minister Delegate for Transport said he was “absolutely not” worried about this threat. However, it is there, even though the CGT-RATP, the leading public transport union, recently filed a strike notice running until the end of the Paralympic Games. What should worry public transport users in the Ile-de-France region, who - in addition to having to share their means of transport with thousands of spectators at the Olympics this summer - may have to deal with social movements?

“The minister is putting pressure on operators so that they find solutions as quickly as possible,” we think internally at Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM). The organizing authority for public transport in the Ile-de-France region, headed by the president of the region Valérie Pécresse, obviously has no control over the internal negotiations within each group and can only hope that the breakage will be avoided. But at this stage, there is "no worry", "no anxiety that comes back" or which "would make you think that we will not succeed", we assure, even if, well Of course, much remains to be done. “The schedule is respected, the recruitment plans are in working order,” we add, far from the concerns of a possible threat of strike.

On the RATP side, CEO Jean Castex had already spoken on the subject at the time of the announcement of the “dormant” CGT strike, explaining that the unions had “without a doubt” filed this notice with the aim of to “weigh in these negotiations”. “We are not here to worry but to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible during the Olympic Games. And that requires negotiations, and that’s what we are doing,” we told RATP, recalling that the priority was above all to finalize the file for mandatory annual negotiations (NAO). And precisely, on this subject, two majority agreements have just been signed: the first with the support of Unsa and FO, but without that of the CGT, for a gross annual increase of 1,300 euros for all of the group's employees, the second to experiment with a four-day week for station agents.

How to avoid a strike during the Olympics? For the moment, discussions are continuing, but whatever their outcome, the strike is not an end in itself. “No, today, there is no call for a strike during the period of the Olympic Games, but yes, the strike notice still runs,” says Vincent Gautheron, deputy central union delegate at the CGT-RATP , which recalls that this notice is a “tool made available to employees”, so that the latter, “if they wish”, can “express their disagreement with the company's remuneration policies and the conditions under which They will work during the Olympic Games. He also fears a real “deterioration of their working conditions”, with several exceptions to the Labor Code already planned, such as “weekly rest times”. To remedy this, he believes that the financial compensation “is not up to par”, “especially given the inflation caused by the influx of tourists”.

Strike or not, the trade unionist “invites the minister to be more careful about these comments” concerning possible disruptions in transport during this event, because the danger does not come only, according to him, from the strike but also from possible problems operating. “Today, the RATP is still unable to carry out its public service mission,” he explains, while “there have been many departures in the areas of operation, among drivers bus, metro and maintenance side” and that “there are always difficulties in recruiting”. And to conclude: “From public administration, through businesses, employees are all invited to resort to teleworking, this clearly proves that there are concerns and it is proof that already, from the start , there is a capacity problem in the transport offer.

“They are raising the stakes, it’s fair game. But we are already at the beginning of March, it would still be necessary for the social agreements for the organization of this period to be found fairly quickly,” said Marc Pélissier, president of the National Federation of Transport User Associations (FNAUT). ) Île-de-France, hoping that it won't take long. However, this user representative calls for “not completely excluding” the possibility that a strike could be launched in the middle of the Olympics. For what ? Quite simply because the strike notice filed by the CGT “allows any minority union or even informal collectives to outbid each other and strike even without the support of the CGT,” he continues, taking the example of the recent strike by SNCF controllers, who for their part "had no qualms about launching their strike at the most inconvenient moment", and this, at the call of "a small group of 'between them".

An observation shared by Arnaud Aymé, specialist in transport issues at the consulting firm Sia Partners. The threat is even “very credible” according to him, to the extent that “the strike is very easy to start” now that this strike notice has been filed. “How can Patrice Vergriete know that there will be no strike? And if he feels the working world so well as he claims, why did he say he was surprised by the SNCF controllers' strike in mid-February?" asks the specialist, returning to the comments made by the new minister delegate in charge of Transport. “We are really in the coué method,” he further notes, estimating that the communication of the various operators which consists of insisting that the work and the negotiations continue “is much more clever” than that of the minister, who believes he knows “that there will be no strike”.

As for whether it takes the threat of a strike seriously, the SNCF responds, unsurprisingly, that “regular discussions are currently taking place between management and union organizations concerning the support of railway workers during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. », and this, “both financially and in terms of the organization of working time”. A posture assumed by SNCF boss Jean-Pierre Farandou, who brushes aside the threat of a strike, saying he is “fully confident” of “the capacity and mobilization of railway workers”. “At the SNCF, there are serious people, mobilized people who are preparing and we will get there, I am convinced,” he recently expressed. And to insist: “I do not place myself at all in a perspective of social conflict, quite the contrary, I place myself in a perspective of dialogue, exchange and co-construction of this event which will also benefit the SNCF.

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