The subject is taboo and highly explosive.
SNCF controllers hide their Covid-19 contamination in order to avoid being on sick leave and losing a significant part of their remuneration.
What to give a cold sweat to the management of the company but also to the government when we know that, this summer, the TGVs circulated crowded with sometimes more than 630 people on board and that the virus is already circulating at high speed.
According to our information, at the end of last week, the SNCF counted at least 320 contaminations recognized with the virus on the 140,000 railway workers and more than 600 contact cases.
A phenomenon appeared at the end of August
But how many railway workers have not declared themselves?
Impossible to know.
"Out of the 11,000 inspectors, I heard of three cases", confides a trade unionist who like all other sources wants to remain anonymous.
"I know one," confirms another.
The phenomenon emerged at the end of August before being taken head-on by the CFDT Cheminots after the discovery of four contaminated railway workers on the Ouigo network, the low-cost TGV of the SNCF.
“The procedure was set up normally,” said a CFDT union representative.
The four infected people were placed on sick leave as well as eight contact cases.
But among the latter, deep discontent arose.
Logically, they found it abnormal to be penalized when they had nothing to do with it ”.
"Nobody wants to be on sick leave and lose money"
By pushing its investigation a little further, the union discovers that railway workers who know they are carriers of Covid-19 are keeping silent.
“Sometimes under pressure from their colleagues, worried about being identified as contact cases,” says a company executive.
No one wants to be on sick leave and lose money.
And we cannot force anyone to take a test ”.
On September 2, given the urgency, the CFDT Cheminots sends an immediate consultation request (DCI).
A procedure that allows a union to quickly request a meeting with management.
The request is made on the Ouigo perimeter, which has 2,430 people including 470 controllers.
In this document that we were able to consult, the union is clear: "there is a real risk that some employees affected by Covid-19 will not declare themselves to the employer to avoid a loss of salary resulting from a work stoppage for disease ".
The CFDT therefore asks the SNCF to "maintain the average individual level of remuneration for employees affected by Covid-19 as well as for contact employees 1 placed in quarantine because of Covid-19".
It must be said that for a controller, sick leave is synonymous with a big loss of salary.
Two-thirds of his remuneration consists of a fixed part and a third of a variable part paid when he works.
“For example, a controller who receives 1,250 euros fixed per month will receive with the EVS [
Editor's note: variable elements of balance
] around 1,900 euros in total, details an elected representative of the CFDT Cheminots.
But when he is placed on sick leave, not only does he lose these EVS but in addition there are the days of deficiency.
One for the railway workers with the statute and three for the contractual ones ”.
An alert taken seriously by the management of Ouigo
And impossible to cut it: "Some contact cases have tried to be tested to be cleared but the laboratories are saturated, adds another trade unionist.
At the beginning, the quarantine was fourteen days, which meant 14 days less of EVS.
Now, these are seven days of EVS less (
Editor's note: the quarantine has been
to seven days
This may not seem like much, but it is in addition to the three months of confinement during which the railway workers, like all French people, have already lost money.
Me, I have already left nearly 1,000 euros during confinement ”.
On September 7, the union is received by management.
The alert is taken very seriously by the management of Ouigo.
And three days later measures are announced ... only for contact cases.
Those with status are no longer placed on sick leave but on leave.
"Without touching their annual leave quota," said a trade unionist.
For contract workers, the waiting days are eliminated.
It is a victory but small ”.
Indeed, these measures are applicable only until October 10.
But above all, they do not respond to the loss of EVS.
"It's discrimination," an inspector loses his temper.
Sedentary people do not have EVS.
They therefore receive the entire remuneration.
And the train drivers negotiated to receive an average of their EVS while they are less in contact with the public than us ”.
Risk of criminal sanction
In short, the subject is far from closed.
“Management is putting the pressure on by repeating that not declaring yourself Covid can be criminal,” says a staff representative.
But it is unverifiable.
And when you have a family to support, the financial aspect outweighs the civic sense ”.
And the CFDT Cheminots to warn: “This is not a purely SNCF subject.
All employees who have a variable part, such as salespeople, or who are in financial difficulty, risk not saying that they have the coronavirus.
The government must act ”.
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A risk identified by the association of HRDs from large communities. In a press release on September 9, she called on the government to once again suspend the waiting day. When contacted, the SNCF insisted: "The safety of agents and passengers is an absolute priority with which no one can compromise." If the company does not respond to the compensation problem that arises for controllers when they are off work, the management of the public company warns: "The employee who works in contact with other people must inform his employer. in the event of contamination or suspected contamination outside the professional environment. If he does not do so and continues to work, he could be accused of having endangered other people, putting him at risk of disciplinary action, depending on the circumstances, and of seeing his criminal liability. committed for the offense of endangering others ”.