The GPIS, the Parisians know well. Cars with his initials patrol Paris to ensure security in social housing residences. Recently, GPIS has been the scene of a clash between an Unsa union representative and his management. For some, a simple union dispute and for others a serious matter of moral harassment of employees under the guise of a union mandate. Back to this imbroglio.
In April, these are two articles that publicize a case of limited appearance, but with unusual characteristics. On the one hand, the Parisian interviewed several employees complaining of acts of harassment at the heart of the Parisian inter-donor surveillance group, a private security organization, in charge of crime prevention for nearly 150,000 social housing units in the city of Paris. On the other hand, a far-left site publishes an article, against the alleged officials, since withdrawn from its columns. The originality of the situation lies in the fact that the management decided to dismiss a protected employee, who is also a manager and head of department, following the initiative … of the employees themselves! The articles that have appeared all tend to conclude that one and the same individual is primarily responsible. But is it that simple?
Basically, an approach by employees denouncing a situation of suffering at work
In December 2020, employees and representatives of minority unions within GPIS alerted management to repeated cases of moral harassment. The testimonies are numerous, since they concern about fifty people out of a workforce of about 180. Faced with the seriousness of the alleged facts, and the number of complainants, the management launched an internal investigation, in parallel with an audit carried out by a firm specializing in psycho-social risks. The investigation establishes that the GPIS is the site of multiple acts of harassment, in daily life as on social networks, accompanied by stigmatizing remarks of a racial or sexist nature, or even threats as to the professional course within the organization. . These redundant facts would have caused dozens of situations of suffering at work, distress leading to stops, plans to leave the group, and even suicidal intentions. It is at least the version supported then by the employees with the direction, and then, by some of the same ones, with the media.
In a right of reply, the main defendant, DK, argues for his part, that he had the leisure to contest the accusations against him only during the investigation of the case by the labor inspectorate. . Indeed, according to him, during the investigation of the management, he was not heard as being directly implicated: “Management stuck to general information on the business climate and announced that its decisions should primarily be oriented towards preventive actions”.
Implicitly, it seems that DK interprets the current procedure as yet another episode in the class struggle between union representatives and management. Thus, according to him, the labor inspectorate considered that his responsibility has not been proven for some of the alleged facts, certain psycho-social risks being related to the “Specificities of the sector” or under “The organization and working conditions as well as the current context of GPIS”.
Similarly, the management would have excessively formalized an attitude of “Sharp criticism on (…) the choice of its priorities” which would be legitimate for a union representative. Finally, DK provides this information, which concerns him in particular, in the perspective of the debates which for ten years have agitated management, unions and partners, about the role of GPIS in the security of the Paris social park, attributing itself the role of “To ensure, at (his) level, that the GPIS fulfills as well as possible the functions that decision-makers assign to it and to make the voice and needs of staff heard in this difficult profession”. At no time, in fact, does he allude to the fifty or so harassment complaints, or to the suffering expressed by his colleagues.
An examining magistrate is appointed to investigate the facts of moral harassment
However, over the course of an investigation lasting several weeks, dozens of people are heard about serious facts that do not in the least fall within the scope of social dialogue. Thus, occupational medicine sets up a support system. Thus, once the facts have been established, management is moving towards dismissal for serious misconduct. Thus, the CSE, yet dominated by the DK union, UNSA, validates, admittedly narrowly, the decision. Thus, finally, the management of GPIS takes legal action under article 40 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, taking into account the seriousness of the facts. That is to say that the public prosecutor is warned. He has the power to file a decision without further action and yet a judicial investigation is opened with the appointment of an investigating judge. Hearings should take place.
Employees assert their right of withdrawal
Two months later, on April 21, management and employees learned that the labor inspectorate rejected the dismissal for procedural and legal reasons. The blow is hard for the employees who implicate the union delegate UNSA, and goes badly: several dozen agents assert their right of withdrawal to protect themselves against the probable return of the department head. All fear the return of tensions and moral violence, or that the situation degenerates into assault. The activity of surveillance and intervention in the Paris social park is strongly disrupted, and some media are alerted as we have seen. An employee testifies on BFM of her suffering. However, the service is gradually resuming because the main interested party would not have reappeared permanently on the scene …
What to remember?
To date, therefore, it is difficult to form a definitive opinion on this affair. It will no doubt be necessary to await the ministerial decision (an appeal against the refusal of dismissal by the labor inspectorate would be in progress), but also the first elements of the investigation carried out following the implementation of article 40. Either it is an umpteenth banal case of social conflict, or a case of moral harassment of an unprecedented scale, with several dozen victims among the employees, and committed by a trade unionist whose mission is precisely … to protect them ! Some people also mention the possibility of underlying financial embezzlement, which could be the subject of criminal proceedings …
In addition, given the important role of GPIS for the safety of Parisians, we may be surprised at the silence of the stakeholders who should feel concerned. Silence on the side of the unions represented in GPIS: UNSA, of course, but also FO, CGT, or CGC-CFE: with the exception of their local representatives, they do not seem to be interested nor to the dozens of employees in great suffering at work, if this is indeed the case, nor to the injustice done to DK, if he is indeed within his rights.
Silence also on the side of social landlords who employ the GPIS, and of which the mayor of Paris is one of the main ones. Nicolas Nordman, Anne Hidalgo’s deputy for security, certainly has a lot to do with Stalingrad, it would nevertheless be well inspired to look into the question …