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Unions celebrate victory for French XPO workers

18 Dec 2020
The ITF XPO Global Union Family is this week celebrating the victory of French Union CGT after 10 days of strikes over poor pay, management and disciplinary behaviour.

XPO had subjected workers at the Labastide-Saint-Pierre site to constant and dangerous pressure to fulfil the contract of its client, Action. According to CGT representatives, Labastide-Saint-Pierre is the most accident prone of 85 XPO sites in France. There were over 40 accidents in 2020 alone and three investigations are currently underway with the labour inspectorate. Some workers had been subject to physical abuse by XPO management while others were reduced to tears, CGT reported.

In protest, 80% of workers went on strike. This ended after a deal was reached to address inappropriate management, improve poor working conditions, and increase pay and bonuses. Having previously served 15 summonses on strikers, management also agreed not to impose penalties on strikers and not to pursue legal action.

“The ITF family salutes the CGT and all workers who were right to protest against appalling working conditions,” said Noel Coard, ITF Inland Transport Section Secretary. “Action by CGT has demonstrated just how much power workers have when they stand together to challenge exploitation.”

CGT’s victory comes after a global report in October revealed XPO inaction on poor working practices, despite pressure from unions globally. “It is clear the only thing this company will respond to is profit and so it is to XPO Customers and Clients that the Global Union Family will now take their concerns,” said Coard.

ITF affiliates have meanwhile shared their concern regarding XPO’s recent announcement that it plans to split the road and logistics parts of the business. The announcement is just the latest indication of how XPO continues to put profit for shareholders before the wellbeing of its workers. The newly formed European Works Council will be affected by the move, in a blow to union workers who spent years to bring it to life.