Agence France-Presse Branch of the French National CGT Journalists' Union (SNJ-CGT)
Petition to defend AFP staff on short-term contracts
The growth in the number of people employed by AFP on precarious, non-permanent work contracts of various kinds is becoming extremely worrying.
The situation of people on short-term contracts (“CDDs” in French) has deteriorated considerably since the start of 2009. People have found themselves waiting for longer than the regulation “fallow” periods between two contracts before being rehired, and the delays have been getting longer and longer.
And while people who have already worked on CDD contracts are being told that times are hard and that the agency has no further work for them, new employees who have passed the required entry tests are being taken on as CDDs.
Some AFP services are being run with as much as a quarter of their total staffing needs fulfilled by people on short-term contracts, doing work which should normally be full-status (CDI).
The predicament of the agency’s many freelancers is also getting worse. Many of them have been practically employed full time for years, but nevertheless remain “pigistes”.
A few revealing quotes:
“On Saturday nights on the sports desk it’s quite common for the team to consist of a slot who is a full-status staffer working alongside five CDD’s.”
“AFP says it has nothing to offer me this summer, and if I can’t find anything elsewhere I’m going to end up as a beneficiary of the government’s RSA social safety-net scheme.”
“It’s tough to find a flat when you’re continually doing on-and-off short-term contracts.”
“When you’ve been hired on a Category One salary you get 1,250 euros if you have to sign on as unemployed. But even that you don’t get in full, because there’s also a ‘fallow period’ before you can get benefits.”
In view of this situation, the joint unions call on all AFP staff around the world to sign the petition shown below.
If this appeal should go unheard by management, the joint unions will be obliged in the short term to call for strike action until our demands have been met.
“We the undersigned, staff working in all AFP’s services and bureaus, demand that management commit itself to a plan to give full-status jobs in at most two years to people who have spent the longest times working on short-term contracts.
“We also demand that employees who have already done short-term contracts be given fresh work at the end of the fallow period which has to separate each contract under French law.
“We further demand that freelancers who are in fact doing full-time work be given full-time contracts.”
To sign this petition, staff are invited to download the printable version by clicking on the link in the top right-hand corner of this page.
For people working at headquarters in Paris, print-outs of the text are being distributed to all services, and should be returned to the Works Committee (Comité d’entreprise) on the first floor.
Staff in bureaus around the world are invited to send their signatures either individually or collectively to the Committee either by faxing the above form to +331 40 41 73 00, or by e-mail to the secretary of the Comité: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the case of individual signatures sent by e-mail, the originating afp.com address will be considered as equivalent to a signature.
Joint AFP HQ-Status Unions - July 8, 2009