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(en) France, UCL AL #333 - Unionism, Orpéa: Home help finally comes out of the shadows (ca, de, it, fr, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 19 Jan 2023 08:07:04 +0200

Often greeted with skepticism by activists, interprofessional strike days sometimes serve as a springboard for the development of a local struggle. This is the case in the Domidom company where the home care workers have decided to enter into a prolonged struggle. ---- Everything starts on October 18 during a new national day of strike. In Caen, that day the workers (home helpers) at Domidom are on strike. This company is part of the Orpea group, which has been on the edge since the scandal over the austere management of its retirement homes. ---- The workers of Orpea were not unionized at first, a situation of union desert common in the sector of home help. They then decide to renew their strike on their own, and to organize themselves to hold on. This requires meeting, while the work collective is almost non-existent in this profession.

The unions of Caen immediately supported and backed their struggle. Material means are welcome, after starting with "a sheet and a marker". Macron said that by crossing the street one found work; they found friends there. Just opposite the picket line, in the Enedis company, CGT workers were among the first to bring them help, including an arbor for shelter.

"Before the strike I always looked ahead, I didn't expect that by looking behind I would find so many friends! said one of them.

The workers of Orpea, initially non-unionized decide to renew their strike alone. It will be quickly supported by the unions of Caen, with in the first place the CGT workers of the neighboring company Enedis.
Demand and organize
After two weeks of strike, they join the CGT in order to extend their struggle, to benefit from union rights, to go beyond the hierarchical relationship with the boss. They use the damaged image of Orpea to advance their claims.

A 20% wage increase, blocked for twenty years apart from the rise in the Smic, an increase in overtime to 25%, collective pension, a 13th month or an attendance bonus.

But also a basket bonus of ten euros per day : overworked, their travel time not being taken into account, they eat on the go in the car or in transport. As well as an increase in allowances for mileage costs. For those who travel with their vehicle, the price of fuel is increasingly cutting into their wages.

Their demands mean wanting to live with dignity from their work which, let us remember, is essential to society. Negotiations are tough but moving forward. Through their tenacity and the help of the unions, they have become visible. All political organizations, from the PS to UCL, give them the support they deserve.

Quickly invited and supported by Nupes deputies, they know that their struggle belongs to them. This support from parliamentarians must serve them well, they have understood that. For many of them the strike is a very hard sacrifice, but class solidarity feeds the strike funds and allows them to hold on.

A support evening took place at the Maison des Syndicats and other events are in the works. This exemplary struggle reminds us of important things: it is in the daily struggles of workers that the awareness of solidarity between us is built, it is there that the legitimacy of union action and the construction of power from below.

Nemo (UCL Caen)

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