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Salary increase, 13th month… What to expect from branch negotiations?

They are under pressure. The employers’ representatives of the hotel and catering industry know that they must restore attractiveness to their sector, threatened by a shortage of manpower. The coronavirus and its successive confinements have indeed led to a wave of departures which has not been compensated for, for lack of candidates. According to the Dares (Ministry of Labor), the hotel and catering industry lost 237,000 employees between February 2020 and February 2021.

A state of affairs that will weigh heavily on the salary negotiations which officially open this Thursday. 20 Minutes takes stock of the challenges of these discussions.

How will the negotiations unfold?

The unions want to go as quickly as possible. According to Nabil Azzouz, who will negotiate for Force Ouvrière (FO), “there is no time to waste, the average salary in the sector is one of the lowest among professional branches. [1.500 euros bruts d’après FO, 1.830 euros bruts d’après le patronat] “. Besides Thursday’s meeting, a second session is scheduled for mid-December, and an agreement could be reached before the end of the year. These discussions will be closely watched by the government. In mid-September, the Minister of Labor, Elisabeth Borne, had indeed indicated that the remuneration offered in the sector was “not up to par”.

What are employee representatives asking for?

For unions surveyed by 20 Minutes, the upgrading of the salary grid is a good starting point, but will not be enough. “It will be necessary to go beyond, for example with the creation of a 13th month”, warns Arnaud Chemain, representative of the CGT. Today, some establishments practice it, but if a branch agreement was reached, all hotels, cafes and restaurants would be required to pay it.

For its part, Force Ouvrière is calling for progress on the increase in overtime, night hours, and work on weekends. “We want employees to be able to benefit from a whole weekend per month, and that the other weeks, they can have two consecutive days of rest”, advance Nabil Azzouz. The unions will also put on the table the question of the “cut”, these unpaid hours between two services which force many employees to stay on site, for lack of living next to their work.

Are their claims likely to succeed?

There is consensus on the revaluation of the sector’s salary scale, even among employers’ representatives. It remains to be seen what the scale will be. Last month, Thierry Grégoire, from Umih (employers’ union), proposed in The Parisian an increase in wages of “between 6% and 8.5%, or even perhaps 9%”. “9% is really the minimum, replies Arnaud Chemain, taking into account inflation and the non-revaluation of the grid since 2018”.

The representative of Umih also indicated that he was not opposed to the idea of ​​a 13th month. But his ideas are not unanimous among the employers. “We dissociate ourselves from such remarks firstly because the negotiations do not take place in the public square. Then because the proposals must require the agreement of the employer’s college to then be presented to the employees’ organizations ”, retorted in West France Laurent Fréchet, of the GNI (national group of independents). His union has thus closed the door to the creation of a 13th month.

There remains one last unknown: the evolution of the health situation. As contaminations start to rise again and several countries in Europe begin to take restrictive measures, the unions want to believe that the negotiations will not be affected. “We must now resolve the structural problems of the hotel and catering industry, otherwise we will never succeed,” warns Nabil Azzouz.

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