The 72 strikers of the Vertbaudet childcare brand, on strike since March 20 at the Marquette-lez-Lille (North) warehouse, signed an agreement with management on the evening of Friday June 2, ending their more than two months of tense mobilization, an epilogue hailed as a "victory" by the CGT.
"Vertbaudet management announces the conclusion of an end-of-strike protocol with the company's CGT representatives," management said. "It includes lifting the picket 'at midnight' and returning all 72 strikers to work" next Tuesday.
"Work will resume on Tuesday after a day of calm and discussion on Monday," confirmed Samuel Meegens, from the local CGT union in Tourcoing. "The conflict is over, work resumes," said Amar Lagha, general secretary of CGT-Commerce et Services, welcoming an "unprecedented victory."
The end of the conflict agreement "provides that no sanction will be taken against the strikers, while some had been summoned for preliminary interviews for dismissal, and the payment to the strikers of the 13th month without deduction of the days of strike", has he added.
Redesign of the salary grid
The outcome was found after a gesture from management, which had opened mandatory annual negotiations (NAO) early for the year 2024 between May 26 and June 1. They concluded with a text, for which the two majority trade unions, FO and CFTC, gave a verbal agreement, and which will be signed by the CGT. It provides for "an overhaul" of the salary grid, as demanded by the strikers.
According to management, this will allow "a revaluation of at least 1,860 euros gross per month over 13 months (i.e. 7%) for all employees with twelve years of seniority" and a "revaluation of the minimum wage up to 1 810 euros gross per month over 13 months (i.e. 4%) for all employees from July 1, 2023”.
“The Vertbaudet workers have won an agreement against their boss. Their dignity is great. They impress. Glory to the wrestlers! LFI proud to have donated 25,000 euros to the strike fund! “, reacted the leader of La France insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon. “After more than two months of such a difficult strike, they are coming out of the dispute with wage increases. And above all, above all, with the dignity of those who fight, "reacted for his part David Guiraud, "rebellious" deputy for the 8th district of the North.
United since March 20 behind CGT delegate Manon Ovion, a 30-year-old order picker, the 72 strikers (out of 320 employees) demanded a net increase of 150 euros per month. A "vital" sum for these often poorly qualified women, who mainly receive the minimum wage in a context of high inflation.
Although in the minority against FO and the CFTC, the CGT led the movement. The visit in mid-April of the new general secretary of the union, Sophie Binet, who came to call for a boycott of the sign, brought a spotlight. Other left-wing personalities followed one another on the picket line, including Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Behind this media waltz, tensions had been growing since the start of the strike. After the arrival of Sophie Binet, the management attributed to elements outside the company a violent intrusion into its premises. The CGT for its part denounced police brutality during interventions against the picket line, against a striker and an outside CGT activist who came in support.
The prosecution has also opened an investigation into violence reported by a CGT delegate, who was allegedly molested and robbed by people posing as "plainclothes police", according to the union.