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BEERG Newsletter - Unions: Orpea global agreement standoff continues

The standoff between the French unions CGT and CFDT and UNI Global over the framework agreement UNI signed with the French-based company, Orpea, continues, with the two unions calling on UNI to denounce the agreement. In a letter sent on 4 May to Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global, the CGT and CFDT called on UNI to walk away from the agreement “as soon as possible”. They say: 

“It is clear that UNI Global Union has committed a serious political error by signing a ‘global partnership agreement on ethical employment, social dialogue, collective bargaining, and trade union rights’ with Orpea. This agreement contributes to undermining the truth that is currently being brought to light about the group’s deceptions.” 

The CGT and CFDT have moved to have the last representative elections held in France set aside on the grounds that management discriminated in favour of an “in-house trade union”. These accusations are supported by a joint report by France’s general inspectorate of social affairs (IGAS) and its general inspectorate of finance (IGF), published in April, which also highlighted the mistreatment of residents at Orpea nursing homes. 

UNI hit back:

“We maintain our position that this agreement secures the right to organize for thousands of workers in countries where those rights are not embedded in national law and practice.  We promised during the pandemic to fight for a new and better reality for nursing home workers, and this agreement is an important step in that direction. At the moment, unions in several countries are already relying upon this agreement as they launch efforts to help workers improve their jobs … Our many affiliates across the world have welcomed this agreement and would have preferred that it be signed in a spirit of cooperation with both CFDT and CGT, important UNI partners. However, disagreements between European trade union federations have prevented good communication in the care sector, something we must remedy in the future.” 

Long-time observers of industrial relation know that there is nothing as vicious as an inter-union punch-up. This one is shaping up to go the distance 

You can read UNI’s original statement on the matter here.

Published on: May 11, 2022

Authors: Tom Hayes

Topics: The UK and European Union

Tom Hayes

Director of European Union and Global Labor Affairs, HR Policy Association

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Contact Tom Hayes LinkedIn

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