Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure FR-2020-12/1170 – measures in France
|Country||France , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 16 March 2020 – 26 April 2020|
|Type||Bipartite collective agreements|
Employment protection and retention
– Working time and working time flexibility
|Author||Frédéric Turlan (IRshare) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||23 September 2020|
On 26 March 2020, the management of the Bigard group signed an agreement with three representative unions – CFDT (leading union), CFE-CGC and FO – on exceptional measures for each establishment to manage working time and also to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis impact on wages. The CGT is not a signatory. This framework agreement, which covers all the French sites of the third largest European meat process manufacturer, applies to 13,000 employees. It should make it possible both to enhance, throughout the crisis, the commitment of employees, whose activity is essential, and to manage the under-activity of certain establishments. It also sets out the procedures for informing employee representative bodies throughout the crisis.
The agreement underlines that a significant drop in activity will affect certain services, workshops or establishments. This situation is due to the cancellation of orders, supply difficulties, or the impossibility of maintaining an activity 'due to the failure of service providers or absenteeism' . If setting up work-study teams or internal mobility measures are not enough to address this situation of underemployment, the agreement proposes the mobilisation of 'hours and days off counters'.
Measures to avoid recourse to partial unemployment
At the sites, the management can use the following four devices in the order of priority set by the group agreement. These are:
Each system is implemented with a 24-hour notice period. The first three tools can be used within an overall limit of ten days. Paid holidays may be taken for up to five working days. Recourse to short-time working is envisaged as a last resort. The deployment of partial activity, whether in the form of reduced working hours or the closure of an establishment, must be validated and then monitored by senior management.
Management of essential skills
According to the agreement, it is necessary to develop the skills essential to the continuity of the group's "vital" activity. Indeed, the "novel" measures made necessary by the health crisis are disrupting personal life. In addition, the "barrier" measures implemented by the employer have a significant impact on the organisation of services and workshops. This valorisation of skills is primarily based on an increase in the internal professional mobility bonus paid for each day of mobility (increase of €10 per day).
Another counterpart provided for in the agreement concerns the remuneration of overtime worked from 16 March to 26 April. Employees who wish to do so, for any hours worked between 35 and 42 hours, are offered the option of benefiting from the social and tax regime for overtime and a 25% pay rise, rather than having them managed under the usual working time modulation scheme. The pay increase is increased to 50% for hours worked beyond 42 hours. The agreement specifies that the succession of busy weeks must remain under control. Management may refuse to allow certain essential employees to take paid leave. The taking of the fifth week's holiday can be postponed beyond 31 May 2020.
Information for employee representatives
The agreement organises information for the Information and consultation bodies at the level of each establishment. It covers the implementation of each work organisation measure applied within the framework of this agreement. It is specified that recourse to short-time working is the subject of information and consultation with the establishment's social and economic committee. At group level, management will inform the trade union coordinators (the shop-steward of the representative unions at group level) at weekly telephone briefings. The exchange will enable, in particular, the monitoring of the group's activity levels and absenteeism. It provides for a 'specific focus' in the event of partial activity.
This framework agreement, which covers all the French sites of the third largest European meat process manufacturer, applies to 13,000 employees on national level and 28 slaughterhouses.
Employees in standard employment
||Applies to all businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners jointly
Company / Companies
No special funding required
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative||Consulted|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Three of the four representative trade unions have negotiated the measures and signed the agreement.
The three representative trade unions support the measures included in the agreement as the signed it.
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|C - Manufacturing||C10 Manufacture of food products|
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2020), Bigard group agreement prioritises measures to avoid partial unemployment, measure FR-2020-12/1170 (measures in France), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/FR-2020-12_1170.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.