At the origin of the current social movement, the energy sector is on the front line this Tuesday, October 18 for the day of interprofessional strike organized at the call of the CGT. And for good reason, in recent weeks, the strong mobilizations of employees in the refineries of TotalEnergies or ExxonMobil have acted as a detonator: after the “requisition solution” drawn by the executive, the discontent could well spread to other strategic sites for the country’s gas, oil or electricity supply. ” Let’s expand the movement in all energy companies “, thus enjoins the CGT mines-energy in a leaflet, before citing GRDF, Enedis, EDF and TotalEnergies. Several EDF nuclear power plants are already facing blockages, despite the urgency of reopening the reactors before winter.
But in this call for mobilization which is intended to be general, one of the three French energy giants is conspicuously absent: nowhere in the prospectus is the Engie group directly mentioned (apart from its subsidiary GRDF ). However, the company concentrated the debates during the summer battle on superprofits, alongside TotalEnergies or CMA CGM. With exceptional results of 5 billion euros in the first half of 2022 (compared to 2.3 billion a year earlier) and a turnover up 72%, it benefited from the surge in market prices. related in particular to the war in Ukraine. This is evidenced by the success of its Global Energy Management (GEM) business unit, i.e. the group’s portfolio of assets in electricity, natural gas, environmental products and other raw materials, which contributed 1 billion euros in overall operating income, compared to 200 million the previous year!
Enough to ” tighten the social climate “, while the direction ” remains very hesitant in relation to the requested salary increase », Estimates Arnauld Prigent, representative of the CFTC at Engie. ” The group is in a profit situation, certainly less strong than TotalEnergies, but consistent. However, for the moment, any real general increase due to inflation is denied “, he argues. How is it then that no global protest movement seems, for the time being, to emerge within the company, contrary to what is happening in several TotalEnergies or EDF sites?
Several trade union branches
Overall, the employees of Engie mobilized very little: only 3.71% of them responded to the last strike call, on October 6, by the professional branch of the Electricity and Gas Industries (IEG, which concentrates more than 160 companies and 140,000 employees). However, this figure was 26% for its subsidiary GRDF, and 20% for GRTgaz. And this, for several reasons: first, the group ” shines on three different CGT federations, between energy, construction and metallurgy », explains Fabrice Coudour, federal secretary of the FNME-CGT.
Concretely, of the 44,000 French employees, 20,000 do not fall under the status of IEGs, and are therefore not affected by calls for a strike in this branch. But even for the rest, many different professions coexist, most of which belong to the service industry, with a union culture and less arduous work than in the refinery, for example », notes Arnauld Prigent.
” Culturally, it is therefore rather the employees of Storengy [qui gèrent les réserves souterraines de gaz naturel, ndlr]the gas distributor GRDF or the gas transmission network operator GRTgaz who are mobilizing », continues Fabrice Coudour.
But even at Storengy, the movement finally takes on quite a few employees: around 15 to 17% for the last call for a strike by the IEGs, against an average of 20 to 25% in the branch. ” Unfortunately, the dynamics are not quite the same “, concedes Fabrice Coudour. And for good reason, several conflicts have already taken place at the beginning of the summer, with long blockages in the Storengy storage sites. Which resulted on July 22 in a specific agreement, providing for an increase in wages partially offsetting inflation. This notably grants a 4.6% increase for 133 Storengy employees, and 2.3% for the 380 others, out of the 680 employees on July 1. ” After winning this battle, it is necessarily a little more difficult for them to be able to mobilize in this period », Estimates Sébastien Raya, CGT delegate at GRDF.
In the midst of the energy crisis, Engie explodes its profits
In addition, a purchasing power bonus of 400 euros was paid to all employees around October 1, under a mechanism voted at the start of the school year as part of the law on purchasing power.
” This allows companies to immediately set up tax-free premiums. […] Like many companies, we therefore used this vehicle “, we explain within the management, which claims to have ” early enough, quickly, and thoroughly, pays attention to purchasing power issues “.
Above all, according to an agreement negotiated at the level of the IEG branch, and which the CGT and the CFDT signed on October 17, the basic national salary (SNB) should increase by 3.3% for everyone from the start of the season. ‘next year. Added to this will be the revaluations discussed directly within the companies, “ which will be at least 1% additional “, we assure at Engie.
So many advances that were able to calm the anger, at least for a time. ” Overall, the employees are very responsible, and have understood that the subject of inflation is not easy to control “, Slips a high-placed internal source. Nevertheless, these answers remain insufficient “, if we are to believe the various unions. ” 3.5% increases are welcome, but still below inflation [autour de 6% en France, ndlr] », stresses Arnauld Prigent. Undoubtedly, the subject of revaluations will be on the menu of the mandatory annual negotiations (NAO), which will be held between December and January. It remains to be seen whether Engie will join the general mobilization on Tuesday, before this crucial meeting is held.
Strikes at TotalEnergies, threat of contagion, 49.3: the week promises to be electric