Has La Poste failed in its duty of care with regard to the employment of undocumented workers in its subsidiaries? The Paris judicial court is due to deliver its decision on Tuesday following a summons issued by the Sud PTT union.
In mid-September, according to Céline Gagey, a lawyer for the Sud PTT trade union, the "first hearing on the merits of the law on the duty of vigilance" was held. This 2017 law requires large French companies to publish a vigilance plan on the human and environmental risks of their activities, including within their subsidiaries, suppliers and subcontractors.
Sud PTT, which accuses La Poste of "turning a blind eye to what is happening in these warehouses where undocumented migrants are exploited" when it has "the obligation to take concrete measures (and not just fine declarations) vis-à-vis its subcontractors", had put La Poste on notice several times. The union accused him of "manifest inadequacies" in the drafting and implementation of his vigilance plan, and ended up taking the group to court in 2021.
Yes, there have been incidents, unfortunate accidents, but it is not because La Poste's vigilance plan is failing," La Poste's lawyer, Olivier Attias, argued in mid-September. He said that there is "no precision in the law on the form that the vigilance plan must take", assuring that "the only obligation is to have one".
A growing number of multinationals are being criticised for not respecting their duty of care, such as TotalEnergies, Suez, BNP Paribas, Casino, Yves Rocher and Teleperformance. To date, no proceedings have resulted in a conviction. Last June, the European Parliament voted to impose a "duty of care" on EU companies, the text of which has yet to be negotiated with member states.