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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #309 - Ecology, Biocoop: small spelled but big conflict (de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:36:25 +0200

Since July, employees of the Parisian network Biocoop - Le retour à la terre have been on strike against their management. The initially local conflict spread nationally, and strike calls have multiplied since September. ---- Biocoop is a cooperative company, but its stores are managed independently with a franchise system: only 40% are cooperatives, the others are Sarl (limited liability commercial companies). As the Biocoop charter no longer includes obligations on employee relations, they apply the collective agreement for the retail trade, offering little protection to employees [1]. Thus in April, while the president of Biocoop declared that the crisis was an opportunity "to change the model", the bosses of some of these biocoop pressured their employees already tested by the confinement and deconfinement.

Demonstration September 17, Paris
Red Photo Library
There is therefore a structural issue: the employees in struggle denounce an alignment with mass distribution, and the relegation to the background of the working conditions and the rights of the employees (the ethical and social requirements seem to apply more to products sold than to the operation of stores, especially in Sarl).

The strike movement started with the network of Parisian stores Biocoop - Le retour à la terre, whose employees had been mobilized since July. They mainly claim the acceptance of any request for contractual termination, a salary increase, weekly rest of two consecutive days and the renunciation of the management to open the stores on Sunday (this last point was obtained, the management having there withdrawn after the strike of September 6).

It is now the employees of several Biocoop who are on strike and the conflict is intensifying. During the interprofessional demonstration of September 17, the strikers in Paris were joined by employees of other Biocoop in France in the perspective of federating their struggles. Their demands: that employee representation be reduced from 5% to 50% in Biocoop bodies and that the salary scale which was removed from the specifications be reinstated and reassessed in all stores in the network.

With the approach of the day of strike of September 26, sanctions fell: blackmail on days off, threats of complaint for defamation, and finally two people laid off for serious misconduct and liable to dismissal [2]. But their fight today enjoys broad support from organizations and political parties, as well as allies such as the self-managed bakery in Montreuil, La conquête du pain, which refuses to deliver Biocoop in solidarity. This movement of struggle reminds us that even the "committed»Are overtaken by capitalism, and often fall more into it than they fight against ... The only bulwark is the mobilization of workers to defend their rights, take control of their work tool and prevent betrayal of displayed values.

The UCL Ecology Commission



[1] "In full growth, the Biocoop network is socially challenged", Reporterre, September 25

[2] See the Facebook page of employees in struggle, Le retour à la strike.

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