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Job cuts at AFP: New Plan Fries? Not new, not improved

Tuesday 22 January 2019

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In a rush to cut jobs, from the summer of 2019 if possible, management presented Monday an amended job cuts plan intended to win over trade unions. Drats! Foiled again! In the updated 14-page outline of his plan there are many figures and good intentions (like “no forced departures”), but there is no reference to the Agency’s public interest mission (mission d’intérêt général or MIG) or how to achieve it in the future. How to ensure AFP operates effectively with less personnel? Just sign at the bottom and we’ll discuss that later, was the gist of management’s response...

A sleight of hand

Printable version

To “contain the wage bill”, that vile beast that stalks the Agency, management doesn’t step back from its original goal: €14 million in savings. But it changes how it plans to get there.

It abandons its initial target of 125 net job cuts (160 voluntary departures and 35 new hires) over five years for a new target of 95 net job cuts (125 voluntary departures and 30 new hires). Is this a concession. No, not in any way. As to make up the financial lost ground management intends to cut back the expatriate network. Their proposal is to switch 15 expatriate posts to local status (with lesser benefits) that are less costly to the Agency.

So management has gone from cutting off two hands to proposing severing one hand and one foot. Very generous indeed! No trade union can be satisfied with this new cost-savings strategy that will take the electric trimmer to an expatriate network (currently 175 posts) that has already been cut back in recent years, further limiting the mobility of journalists.

On top of this sacrifice add management’s refusal to increase wages in 2019 in order to award bonuses to a chosen few. After six years of having our salaries eroded by inflation, management has admitted in annual wage talks that it has no plans to raise our wages in the coming five years!

Plan Fries 2.0, for SUD it’s still NO

Management seeks to negotiate a voluntary departure plan (PDV) that will result in a reduction of 87 French-contract jobs in 2019-2020, plus the non-replacement of 20 locals who will be given early retirement packages. Another 18 posts are not to be filled in 2021-2023. In parallel, 30 new posts will be created in 2019-2020, notably in video. The breakdown of job cuts by category:
 Journalists : 47 non-replacements in 2019-2020 (32 HQ status and 15 local) and the creation of 24 new posts.
 Technical and administrative staff: 60 non-replacements in 2019-2020 (55 HQ status and 5 local) and the creation of 6 new posts. In addition, 18 jobs that open up in 2021-2023 will not be filled.
Management wants a forced march of negotiations to reach an accord by the summer of 2019. SUD will strive to defend the Agency’s public interest mission and those who remain to achieve it.

For SUD, one job cut is one too many!

Our statement “Stop Plan Fries” is still worth a read, as well as the longer analysis (in French) on which it is based: “The destruction of AFP is underway”

January 22th, 2019
SUD-AFP (Solidarity-Unity-Democracy)