PARISIAN finance and tax workers held a one-day strike in defence of jobs and services last Friday, July 9th, accompanied by a rally which was called by three unions including Force Ouvriere (FO).
Some 200 finance staff and agents gathered outside the offices of the DRFIP (Regional Office of Public Finances) in the Ile-de-France where a detailed plan for the NRP reform (new local network) for Paris was being discussed.
The NRP ‘reform’ is a cold shower for staff facing the loss of 5,000 jobs by 2022.
It includes the closure, by 2027, of half of the financial services sites in the capital and the merger of 22 services between 2023 and 2025.
It is a ‘territorial and brutal withdrawal’ of the services of the State, declared the unions.
As the new local technical committee convened to discuss the subject of the NRP, the strikers expressed their anger by taking over the meeting.
They were not in a July 9th holiday mood, and were joined by other concerned unions, including the FO, for a rally in front of the DRFIP site in the Rue Réaumur.
The NRP plan, that is to say the national reform of the local network of the DGFIP (Public Finances Directorate General), was conceived in 2018 by (right-wing ex-Minister of the Interior) Gérald Darmanin, and was initially entitled New Geography Revisited before being re-named New Network of Proximity.
It’s quite a programme – it would see the elimination of some 1,200 finance offices in almost 10 years.
The reform claims to increase the presence of the DGFIP in the territory by 30%.
But, already under way, it aims in fact to eliminate nearly a thousand fully competent establishments to replace them with ‘points of contact’, occasional or even itinerant, and not carrying out all the missions specific to the old structures.
It is not therefore a replacement, but a massive cut as hundreds of positions will be relocated or eliminated.
This NRP reform, which has already impacted a number of public finance sites throughout France, has just been detailed for Paris which was what was being discussed in the July 9th’s local technical committee.
Out of twenty-five centres dedicated to public finance missions for individuals, and also communities, twelve would close their doors by 2027.
Concretely, close to ‘half of the Parisian sites will close,’ said an angry Marie Dall’osto Atasavun, departmental secretary (Paris) for the FO-DGFIP union.
Five Parisian districts would no longer have public finance centres, which corresponds to 300,000 tax households and more than 800,000 professionals.
And also, say the three unions including FO which called for the strike, there is no information concerning ‘the future of a certain number of services such as that of registration, land registration, fiscal control or local and state public management’.
This plan would have serious consequences for the 4,400 staff who work at the DRFIP.
‘We already know that 386 positions are likely to be “relocated”, and it could be to the provinces,’ worries the union.
‘As part of the demetropolisation policy sought by the government, certain jobs in the corporate tax services (SIE) could thus leave for Fécamp, Lisieux, Alençon or even Vierzon.’
This kind of relocation has already taken place.
For example, in September 2020, the DGFIP decided to relocate a Parisian public finance service dedicated to the management of staff pensions to Chateaubriant (Loire-Atlantique).
‘Our mobilisation has only just begun!’ declared the DRFIP agents and staff.
‘To these 386 agents whose Parisian posts would disappear, we must add the threats of new job cuts’ warned Marie Dall’osto-Atasavun.
‘Indeed, for years, each finance law has cut positions. Thus, in 2021, some 225 job cuts were recorded by the finance law,’ she said adding:
‘The government anticipates the disappearance of nearly 5,000 DGFIP positions by 2022, while 40,000 positions have already been eliminated in twenty years
‘Until June 2019, the agents in Paris (like those in Corsica and overseas) did not know the content of the NRP plan concerning them.
‘It was not until September 10, 2020 that the DRFIP indicated that four Parisian sites were closing. But last June it added eight, before detailing the closures in July.’
The departmental secretary explained: ‘On July 9th, the agents declared their opposition to this “liquidation” of the Parisian network and issued a warning: “our mobilisation has only just begun!”
‘We demand the abandonment of the NRP and relocations, the maintenance of all the Parisian sites, the maintenance of all the missions, and the maintenance of the reception of the public.’
- Meanwhile, the giant CGT union federation says the public must be convinced about vaccination, not coerced.
This comes as the Macron government has now announced that all healthworkers must be fully vaccinated by September – or risk not being paid.
While the Delta variant is spreading rapidly in France raising fears of a fourth wave, the government is launching the debate on the ‘obligation’ to vaccinate caregivers.
For the CGT, there is no doubt that the vaccination of the greatest number is essential to get out of this pandemic.
It believes, however, that it is essential to convince caregivers rather than force them to risk stigmatising a profession that is already well tested.
‘Difficult to convince for a government whose strategy throughout this crisis appeared like a perpetual muddle … Hiding badly that it is more concerned to maintain “whatever it costs us” its economic and social choices, says the CGT.
‘No wonder then that the crisis of confidence that strikes the Macron government is stronger among nursing staff.
‘While public hospitals and staff were held up as an example for their essential role, budgetary austerity continues to be applied methodically by closing beds and structures, and for the staff it means an intensification of work, loss of days off and having to work extra nightshifts …
‘In these conditions, it is difficult to make sense of this vaccination policy when the other aspects of health policy are abandoned. Indeed, how, for example, to respect the protocols, the barrier gestures in a permanent emergency and without new personnel?
‘The government points the finger at nursing staff, but the problem is more general … Lack of trust in institutions affects the entire population. At the CGT, we believe that one of the elements that sustains this mistrust is the lack of transparency in the relationships maintained between the pharmaceutical sector and public health actors.’
For the CGT, a good way to clarify this relationship would be ‘the lifting of patents on vaccines against Covid-19 and to set up a public health centre.’
The CGT says that the priority must be to restore the confidence of caregivers ‘so as to get out of another crisis, i.e. the one our health system is going through, by giving it the means to function.’
The CGT continued: ‘… the merger of FIVA (Asbestos Compensation Fund) and ONIAM (National Office for Compensation for Medical Accidents) marks a worrying shift in the consideration and compensation of victims of asbestos
‘The CGT therefore reaffirms its opposition to this merger.
‘FIVA is dedicated to fighting the risks of asbestos and its consequences for the health of workers – and obviously identifiable by name – but this merger would therefore have the effect of dissolving it and covering up the consequences of the use of asbestos … it is above all a matter of the State covering up its responsibilities.
‘This must therefore be put in parallel with the latter’s desire to disengage from other asbestos devices, such as ACAATA 1, while employees are still exposed to this risk.’
Commissioned by the Ministry of Solidarity and Health, IGAS 2 and IGF 3 had submitted their report on the merger of FIVA 4 and ONIAM 5 in February but, despite repeated requests from trade unions and asbestos victims’ associations, its conclusions have been kept secret ever since.