This Tuesday, May 31, many social workers went on strike and mobilized in Montpellier. The call had been launched by Caasos (the collective of actresses and actors in the social and forgotten society). This collective, created in October last year and supported by CGT and Sud Santé Sociaux, brings together medical-social workers in a self-governing operation (one person one vote) every fortnight, rue Lakanal (read the article here Fist).
And this fourth day of action marks an expansion. The animation sector joins the movement, which already included the social, Medico-Social and Sanitary sectors. Because the suffering and the logic are the same: overtime, understaffing, lack of financial means, loss of meaning, devaluation, precariousness …
This Tuesday morning they are about sixty to meet in Peyrou. A good dozen journalists are present and collecting the interviews. A clothesline and A4 sheets allow each social worker to indicate their “difficulties”, their “needs” and their “suggestions”. Among the difficulties: “being wandered from structure to structure overnight”, “loneliness, mental strain”, “an unrecognized and yet essential profession”, “spending 40% of my time justifying my actions for a few wonders”. .. Need: “more time to treat people well”, “prospects for the future after my apprenticeship”, “colleagues to better support people and ease the mental strain”, “look at people other than as quantifiable data. The suggestions:” cessation of abusive apprenticeships “,” working and negotiating with schools that do not have the resources to be abused with precarious children “,” job creation and recognition (human and financial) “,” revaluation “… These sheets are valid for so many sectors …
The animation is a badly abused, a bit listened to and unfamiliar with mobilizations as well. Which still draws a picture For some, it was the first day of the strike. Of course, not everyone was there. “We are in 35 hours, we can be there, we can talk. In fact, the starting point is that animation works with voluntary contracts, that is, it is a militant commitment as opposed to professional contracts, and which allows for the development of catch-all contracts that are very accommodating for employers ”.
While the grill is being prepared, the general meeting gives freedom of speech to whoever wants it. Each of them testifies in a benevolent listen to catastrophic working conditions. Like this young animator in a leisure center who evokes the speed of supervision. “In school, there is 1 adult for 18 children. One afternoon I was alone with 98 children! »
Elisa, trainer in animation, demonstrates for the first time with Caasos “because we have a lot”. She condemns “the excessive use of education obligation contracts (EEC), which are not subject to labor law, which allows work in a leisure center or leisure activities, paid 28 € per day. If we work a day of ten hours, meals are taken with the children and deducted from the salary, gives it a salary of € 2.80 per hour.It is a type of contract that was made for colos, but in situations outside the school it is illegal … This type of contract is supposed to be limited to 80 days a year. not respected. No one controls. The animation sector only works with trainees on apprenticeships for a year, a year and a half. And in the end, no employment, we pile up with other contracts. We change the insecure animator instead of hiring the one we have trained “.
In addition to these outdated contracts, animation also suffers from competition between structures. When calling for projects, supported contracts, grants … “We are in an escalation of sufferingresumes Elsa, with children who are not well supervised. The leaders of leisure centers, which are even more educated in pedagogy, now only manage flows. »
It confirms his neighbor, director of a leisure center “fill tables. We are understaffed, at three instead of six, and of the three, two are uneducated. While we are responsible for children. As a result, you are abused and frustrated all the time because you do not have time to perform your work well..
Those who love their jobs are living badly. “It causes burnout, sick leave, depression”, remembers a Caasos activist. And “when we call for help, there is no one left”condemns this instructor-teacher from Adages, a CGT union member who feels more “excluded” to“forgot”. Another CGT activist fearfully intervenes to drop a verdict. “Heard at a management meeting in a leisure center: “Those who burn out invent problems for themselves”. I just wanted to say it. » These insecure workers often hear the fad “If you’re tired you are not created for this job”. Same thing with the doctor sometimes: “Are you burning out? But you’re an animator, do you just watch the kids?”.
A monitor educator at Mecs (a social orphanage), on a permanent contract for nine months, admits that his work is also “bursts. We all take training. We all have knowledge, crazy projects and we can do nothing. We get slapped and we come back for one. Because we love what we do, we believe in it. And what whatever it costs, my job loves it […]. I was told “Be careful, the walls are violent”. I did not understand. The three days before my annual call, I arrive 45 minutes ahead of time. On the day of the interview, I arrive ten minutes late. There was this sharp right turn on the road … I said to them: “I would die, and when I take the car to go to work, I sometimes want to go into the gorge.” I was answered “it’s violent what you say” … They will degrade you. When I said I would die … You sometimes have this death instinct when you do your job badly […] On occupational medicine I was told “You can not save your children, save yourself, it will not be bad.” My mother says to me: ” What will you do now ? “. She does not understand. My work, I do it out of passion. People do not understand commitment. “You are too committed, take a step back”. The more we disconnect, the more good workers we are in the eyes of society ”.
Tatiana, who was a social worker and then a facilitator – “and I go” – welcomes the fact that the reflection does not take place “in a sectoral way”. For her, “Fighting together for our working conditions also means rethinking why and how we work. Before, militant workers were political. Today there is no longer any political balance of power ”.
In all sectors, these ills are common and respond to decades of destructive, speech-driven social policies. Lucas is a special education at Samu Social “Our working conditions are complicated, all the nurses go. When we tell financiers that we can not recruit, they answer us … “but do you really need nurses?” With such logic … And it only accelerates. We set off in a five-year period of social attacks against the unemployed, RSA, pensions … “. Also for him there is no choice. “You have to be in a balance of power. Our action must be long-term, we have to mobilize colleagues, organize ourselves, devise battle plans, win the battle that is imposed on us.”
“Before, 51% of social security was financed by employers, today it is 30%”rattles a CGT Private Health delegate. CICE was created to create jobs, and it paid off. 200 billion was given to employers without pay. »
A Caasos activist repeats the common denominator. “Caasos was created in October 2021 based on the observation that we lack everything. Equipment, time, human and financial resources … We are often asked to work more people for an uncertain salary. It ends with burnout, sick leave, depression Our public is stigmatized, overwhelmed by the state’s public policies. The social is the human, in associations it is the same, it is the same policies that overwhelm us. We stop being superheroes. Our demands are better working conditions, decent wages to all sectors, a decent level of supervision, and we no longer want competition between the public and the workers. “
Today, the situation is catastrophic in terms of working conditions and salaries for professionals, but also in terms of recruitment in these sectors: 45% less registered at the IRTS (Regional Institute of Social Work), 1,500 reviews of competitions 10 years ago, only 500 today. The animation sector convenes a meeting on 2 June at 18:30 for the establishment of a Sud Santé Sociaux trade union. “We were never the trade union, Elsa remembers. It’s really nice to be united, because our issues are similar and complement each other.”.
After the protest grill, about 500 people were present for the afternoon demonstration. The procession took rue du Faubourg Saint-Jaumes to go towards the DRJSCS (Regional Directorate for Youth Sports and Social Cohesion) and hang the clothesline there. An A4 sheet asks DRJSCS to pick up the phone when it is notified of non-compliance with the inspection fee. It was also stopped at the territorial service of PMI (mother and child protection) and social workers, rue Proudhon, in front of a CADA and at Zinc (boulevard Pasteur), which is a support service for people with addiction. Now it remains to be seen whether the public authorities will finally consult the social workers. For them, “It must develop towards a recognized professionalisation of the subjects in a respect that guarantees a professional future for all. »
Text: The mule and the fist
Photographs: Photocracy and The Fist