End of the strike in Vertbaudet after two months, the CGT declares victory

They had become a symbol of the end of the movement against pension reform. The 72 strikers of the Vertbaudet childcare brand, on strike since March 20 at the Marquette-lez-Lille (North) warehouse, signed an agreement on Friday evening with management ending more than two months of mobilization tense, an epilogue hailed as a “victory” by the CGT. “The management of Vertbaudet announces the conclusion of an end-of-strike protocol concluded with the representatives of the CGT of the company”, affirmed the management. “It includes the lifting of the picket” at midnight “and the return to work of the 72 strikers” on Tuesday.

“Work will resume on Tuesday after a day of calm and discussion on Monday,” confirmed Samuel Meegens, of the local CGT union in Tourcoing, to AFP. “The conflict is over, work is resuming” declared Amar Lagha, secretary general of the CGT Commerce and Services, welcoming an “unprecedented victory”. The end-of-conflict agreement “provides that no sanction will be taken against the strikers, while some had been summoned for preliminary interviews for dismissal, and the payment to the strikers of the 13th month without deduction of the days of strike”, has he added.

Sophie Binet’s key visit

The outcome was found after a gesture from management, which had opened compulsory annual negotiations (NAO) in advance for the year 2024 between May 26 and June 1. They concluded with a text, to which the two majority trade union organizations FO and CFTC gave a verbal agreement, and which will be signed by the CGT. It provides for “an overhaul” of the salary grid, as demanded by the strikers.

According to management, this will allow “a revaluation of at least 1,860 euros gross per month over 13 months (i.e. +7%) for all employees with 12 years of seniority” and a “revaluation of the minimum wage up to 1,810 euros gross per month over 13 months (i.e. +4%) for all employees from July 1, 2023”. “The Vertbaudet workers have won an agreement against their boss. Their dignity is great. They impress. Glory to the wrestlers! LFI proud to have donated 25,000 euros to the strike fund! “Reacted the leader of the Insoumis Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Twitter.

United since March 20 behind CGT delegate Manon Ovion, a 30-year-old order picker, the 72 strikers (out of 320 employees) demanded a net increase of 150 euros per month. A “vital” sum for these often poorly qualified women, who mainly receive the minimum wage in a context of high inflation. Although in the minority against FO and the CFTC, the CGT led the movement. The visit in mid-April of the new general secretary of the union, Sophie Binet, who came to call for a boycott of the sign, brought a spotlight. Other left-wing personalities followed one another on the picket line, such as François Ruffin.

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