Orange: unions worried about the social climate

The atmosphere is no longer good at Orange. Several unions are sounding the alarm bells against decisions taken by the company’s management and human resources department: stressful working conditions, recruitment freeze, questionable management reorganizations in certain entities, etc. However, the results of the latest Orange joint survey on working conditions and stress in 2018 were quite good: 88% of employees say they are proud to work for Orange and 82% would advise a loved one to work there. . This concern is, in part, rekindled by the trial which sentenced the former leaders of France Telecom to one year in prison for moral harassment on December 20. On edge, several trade unionists spot the beginnings of similarities all the better.

First indicator, the unions have noted three suicide attempts in recent months, including a young woman under pressure in Tours during the holidays, another in eastern France and at least one in Île-de-France. It’s part of the signals

weak to watch, even if it is necessary to put them in perspective with the 88,000 French employees. The management refuses to “enter into a debate which seeks to instrumentalize the real suffering of individuals”.

Joint negotiations that are slipping

Another source of concern, this year negotiations between employers and unions have not always been successful. The agreement on the forward-looking management of employment and skills (GPEC) was not signed because “the management’s proposal was not ambitious enough”, according to the CFE-CGC and the CFTC. However, it is this agreement that should make it possible to anticipate the company’s future needs in order to ensure career development and reorient employees to other positions. “A buoy at the time of the crisis”, according to the CFTC. Management is committed to reopening negotiations in early 2020. The implementation of the agreement on the recognition of skills and qualifications, signed in 2017, was disappointing. For Sébastien Crozier, president of the CFE-CGC, “employees do not feel recognized, HR should have set up a bank of employee CVs, for example”. Others regret that the experience is only evaluated over the last 12 months. Only the agreement on wages carrying out the compulsory annual negotiations (NAO) was signed without incident by all the unions.

The social barometer, set up by Bruno Mettling, the group’s former HRD who contributed to the group’s social peace after the suicide crisis, has been misled by certain group entities. They added the well-being of the teams to the performance and remuneration criteria for local managers. This may seem trivial, but it prompts them to answer that all is well to obtain better results, thus deviating the primary function of this barometer: to take the real pulse of the atmosphere in the company. Even Bruno Mettling concedes that this method is not good.

A tackle against HRD

For the CFE-CGC, the responsibility lies with the current HRD, Valérie Le Boulanger, who took up her post in 2016. “She connects stupidity to stupidity. She took in her collaborators two or three N-1 of the former team of convicted persons with whom she applies HR methods from another time ”, objected Sébastien Crozier, the president of the CFE-CGC of Orange, the majority union. He also criticizes him for not having attended any hearing in the trial to study in detail the errors not to be reproduced.

This trade unionist has a major role in the company, because he is also the employee representative on the Board of Directors since December 2017 and one of the fervent supporters of the re-election of Stéphane Richard as CEO. But according to someone close to management, he would be at odds with HRD Valérie Le Boulanger. He is annoyed because the “negotiations on union promotion are slipping”, continues an employee.

A mess of reorganizations

But something is wrong with human resources. “The lessons of the past have not been learned. The service which takes care of deploying fiber – one of the major challenges of Orange – will be closed and subcontracted in a TowerCo and we still do not know what will become of these employees ”, is alarmed Jean-Pierre Dumont , president of CFTC Télécoms Ile-de-France. “The HR policy is entirely business-oriented, focused on the R of resources and less on the H of human. This is the era of neomanagement where we lead in a cerebral and sometimes authoritarian way using KPIs and reports, ”laments Ali Oueslati of Sud-PTT.

The “Engage 2025” plan presented in December by Stéphane Richard is also a source of concern for the two staff representatives of the CFE-CGC and the CFTC. It provides for the reorganization of several departments, changes in professions, mergers of positions in the management of certain entities and a reduction in costs by one billion euros by 2023. The staffs of Lyon, Grenoble, Marseille and Nice have merged, for example. “For several years now, Orange no longer replaces retirements. Worse, the group has made forecasts: there should be missing 700 compared to estimates. How will they go about making them leave: by freezing hiring or degrading working conditions to push people to leave? ”Asks Ali Oueslati of Sud-PTT. The group ensures that nothing new is planned. If the unions sometimes use the expression “voluntary departure plan”, Stéphane Richard rejects this expression as a whole, which does not apply here.

Orange also wants to innovate for its workplace by opening the Bridge building in Issy-les-Moulineaux in 2020. More than 3,000 employees should be gathered in this 56,000m building.2 imagined by architect Jean-Paul Viguier with more open space and collaborative workspaces to promote agility. For Sud-PTT and the CFTC, it is “the search for branchouille at the expense of the calm necessary to concentrate in certain trades”, as well as a disguised way of promoting teleworking.

Vigilance of human resources

All that was needed was for the CFE-CGC to think about reactivating the “Stress and Mobility Observatory”, this platform set up by union representatives at the time of the crisis, in order to monitor choices. HR management. “These are weapons and tools that should not be trivialized in relation to the symbolism with which they are responsible”, tempers Bruno Mettling. Orange has worked hard to look after its own. “More occupational physicians, more social workers, more” prevention officers “, more local human resources managers, today more than 1,000 people from these various specialties are implementing the psychosocial risk prevention policy” , the group is justified.

Orange communication seems scared at the idea that these three unions will set fire to the powder, because the next employee barometer is being filled online at the moment. Answer on January 28th.