Court rules in favour of unions in fight against scandal-plagued French care company
A French court has ruled in favour of three French unions in a case to overturn worker representative elections held by scandal-plagued French multinational care company, Orpea.
The court found that the elections for worker representatives at France’s second largest private care home provider were rigged in favour of “yellow union” Arc-En-Ciel, against the objections of worker-led unions Force Ouvriere, Confederation Generale du Travail and Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail.
Yellow unions, also known as company unions, are organisations that are dominated or influenced by the employer, meaning that they are not independent or worker-run.
At the core of the case were allegations that the company illegally interfered with union elections in an attempt to favour Arc-En-Ciel – an illegitimate ‘in-house’ union whose interests align more closely with corporate management than with workers.
Public Services International (PSI) General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli congratulated the unions on their win.
“The case of Orpea demonstrates that cuddling up to corrupt corporate managers is no way to win change for workers,” she said.
“[These unions] have helped sparked an inquiry into institutional abuse and financial crimes…and led calls for deep policy change, especially in regards to for-profit care operators”.
The court’s decision to overturn the election results throws into doubt the legitimacy of the current company agreement, which the court found the company had no legitimacy to approve due to the corrupted election.
Orpea has recently been under the spotlight in France due to allegations of understaffing, and rationing of food and sanitary items at their care facilities. They have also been accused of diverting public funds and utilising complex and opaque financial structures to boost profits.