Renegotiation of banking sector collective agreement

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The collective agreement for France's banking sector has to be renegotiated by 1 January 2000, following the decision in 1998 by the AFB employers' organisation to terminate the accord. In June 1999, AFB tabled a draft of a new agreement, which has been deemed unacceptable by all the trade unions involved.

On 3 February 1998, the Association of French Banks (Association Française des Banques, AFB) took the decision to give notice to terminate the sectoral collective agreement covering 200,000 employees (FR9802194F). The agreement is thus due to expire on 1 January 2000

On 28 June 1999, six months before the expiry date, AFB submitted a new draft agreement to the trade unions. The association considered that this document, consisting of some 80 clauses and seven appendices, would ensure "stable regulations in the industry", and avoid a "complete shake-up of current practices in the sector". AFB states that its proposals leave room for negotiation, but contain a number of non-negotiable points:

  • there will be no further continuation of the terminated collective agreement. The current extension until 1 January 2000 is considered sufficient;
  • sector-level negotiations will no longer determine a sectoral points scale to be used to determine real pay in banks; and
  • all discussion will be based on the employers' proposals.

However, the balance of responsibilities between the sector and individual banks is open to negotiation. For its part, AFB wishes to give "companies maximum latitude in developing employee benefits".

The five trade unions in the sector - CFDT, CGT-FO, SNB-CGC, CGT and CFTC- stated that they rejected AFB's "diktat", which seeks to put certain points of the proposal beyond negotiation. A letter is to be addressed to the AFB chair, Michel Freyche, asking him to reconsider some of his positions, in particular the devolution of annual bargaining over real pay levels, which is currently the responsibility of sector-level organisations, to the individual company.

The unions are gearing up, in preparation for the post-summer holiday period, for a "massive call-to-arms". These preparations include an information drive, aimed at banking sector workers, including a table comparing workers' current level of social protection (under the collective agreement which is being terminated) to both that provided for in the employers' proposal and the basic provisions stipulated in the Labour Code.

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