France Travail: attacks and incivility against agents increased by 12% in 2023

Assaults and incivility committed by users towards members of staff at France Travail (formerly Pôle emploi) increased by 12% in 2023 compared to the previous year, according to an internal document from the operator, consulted on Friday 26 April by Agence France-Presse (AFP)

France Travail: attacks and incivility against agents increased by 12% in 2023

Assaults and incivility committed by users towards members of staff at France Travail (formerly Pôle emploi) increased by 12% in 2023 compared to the previous year, according to an internal document from the operator, consulted on Friday 26 April by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Last year, France Travail recorded nearly 16,000 reports of attacks in its 900 agencies, compared to 14,200 in 2022, according to this document first revealed by the weekly Politis. In detail, reported incivility increased by 17% between 2022 and 2023 (82% since 2019), while verbal aggression increased by 8% (37% since 2019).

The number of physical attacks remains stable and represents less than 1% of all reports. According to the document, “of the 143 physical assaults reported in 2023, 45 were proven physical assaults on an agent and occurred in an agency or nearby.” Concerning expressions of suicidal intentions by a user noted by agents, the figure rises to 3,040 cases, an increase of 8.7% compared to 2022. This is three times more than in 2019.

Reporting policy after 2021 murder

France Travail claimed, in a message sent to AFP, to have “encouraged all of its agents, after the assassination of one of its advisors in an agency in Valence [in 2021], to systematically make declarations of reports for each incident”, a policy which “partly explains the increase in the figures of reports since 2021 and in particular compared to the year 2019”.

“France Travail does not note any specificity specific to its services but notes a societal context marked by more and more incivility and aggression, particularly in public services,” also says the operator, who assures that it is making every effort “to allow each of its agents to be able to carry out their mission in complete serenity and safety and for our users to be welcomed in complete safety”.

Christophe Moreau, member of the national office of the SNU union (FSU), speaks of a “rise in attacks for several years”. “This increase in reports of assault has mainly appeared since 2019, an increase that we can link to changes in unemployment insurance compensation,” he told AFP, specifying that his union “ has long called for a systematization of work accident reporting for each attack.

Last year, France Travail assured that it was putting in place measures “as part of a global strategy”. The operator then cited "the protection of sites with the strengthening of security equipment, the generalization of video protection in agencies and the development of alert tools", so that agents can report "urgent situations", or “training employees in de-escalation and tension management”.

On the generalization of the implementation of video protection, Christophe Moreau estimated that this measure did not lead to a particular reduction in the number of attacks “in the agencies where this has been implemented”.