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New rights to empower socially responsible managers in the workplace

Cadres
An english version of the Charte des Cadres, by UGICT CGT.
jeudi, 22 janvier 2015 | English

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Being a manager today more and more often involves being the bearer and guarantor of employer ideology, to play the role that company directors try to impose on us, to feel responsible and unconditionally, for implementing directives imposed on us. We are supposed to leave our deep convictions, our freedom of thought and opinion, our most basic rights as citizens back in the changing room.

As conditions are gradually being created that make the position of managers less secure, the demand to belong to the corporate policy becomes stronger. As employers push for the work contract to move from the provision of means and resources for a given period of time, to an almost permanent obligation to obtain results, the shift is happening: we should not only provide our skill and expertise for the benefit of the company but also our self-management skills predefined by an “ethical” charter or a “code of good conduct”. Just what is this “ethic” which aims to deprive individuals of their freewill to transform them into yes-people with no statutory rights?

We acknowledge that we are workers, just like the others. But our positions, our levels of responsibility, our technical skills and our role in the work organisation make us a specific kind of worker. The Union Générale des Ingénieurs, Cadres et Techniciens (UGICT) CGT proposes an executive status that will ensure that each person has rights and liberties with a collective guarantee, and that each person can exercise to the full his or her occupation and social responsibilities.

That is the aim of this charter !

ecognition to win
back for one and alls

salaires

Salaries and careers

Year after year, in both public and private sectors, we see our basic wage stagnate or even decrease, with an increasingly uncertain variable fee. Pay scales are attacked and called into question. Individualised and disconnected from the qualification system, our pay is becoming arbitrary. Individualisation has dragged our wages downwards. Furthermore, the increase in financial contributions and employee savings plans is contrary to the wage system and undermines social security through exemption from social contributions.

L’UGICT-CGT proposes taking action to :
  • Demand a permanent or statutory contract right from the first job.
  • Recognise diplomas and vocational training in a starting wage chart with thresholds corresponding to the various levels of qualification. The lower limit should be equal or above the upper limit on salary deduction for social security contributions for managerial staff (€37,032 gross per year).
  • Ensure fairness and transparency to prevent all forms of arbitrariness in career development with a system of appeal on which worker representatives sit.
  • Enforce equality at work between men and women. Ban all forms of discrimination: on pay, recognition of diplomas or qualifications, access to positions, career development, or any other element constituting occupational responsibility.
  • Establish a pay scale by classification that shows the progression of our qualifications.
  • Guarantee a fixed annual salary rise, to maintain purchasing power, at least equal to the upper limit on salary deduction for social security contributions.
  • Include the years spent at graduate school when calculating pension rights.
formation

Training

Our training too often involves merely adapting to company (or administration) targets and integrating management criteria that these targets dictate.

Strategic Workforce Planning, the new competencies required to occupy a given position should not serve as a pretext for employers to refuse career advancement or the recognition of qualifications acquired. This is a short- sighted view, dictated by the immediate needs of our employers.

L’UGICT-CGT proposes taking action to :
  • Construct a forward-looking quantitative and qualitative management of changes in career development based on changing social needs.
  • Help people starting their first job or beginning a new one to enter the working world with special measures and/or vocational training.
  • Make ‘VAE’ (credits for acquired work experience) a means of recognition, an individual right enforceable against the employer, guaranteed by status or by collective agreement. This right must be applied in collective procedures in representative bodies.
  • Devote at least 10% of the hours worked to vocational training, to be taken during working hours.
 
sante-travail

Health at work

By thwarting our aspiration to autonomy, current management has isolated us even further and increased competition. The relentless race for performance affects our physical and mental wellbeing. Pressure from work pace, targets to reach, constant restructuring plans, the lack of room for expression and free will, the risk of being shunted to one side can all cause suffering for managers and those under them. This phenomenon is spreading and has drastic consequences for workers. The remoteness of decision centres, unreachable managements, the lack of direct correspondents, denying the existence of conflicts or failing to resolve misunderstandings are all adding to the problem.

L’UGICT-CGT proposes taking action to :
  • Give managers the role of restoring the collaborative working group, which is itself geared towards shared experience and meaning.
  • Set up areas for occupational discussion to talk about and resolve difficulties encountered in order to work to high quality standards, complying with good management practice.
  • Appeal to a third party (CHSCT – the French health and safety committees – or another representative institution) in the event of conflict, in order to escape insoluble face-to-face meetings between managers and those who work under them.
  • Give the CHSCT greater power of intervention with the trade union organisations and occupational health services, to lighten workloads at the first signs of stress.
rythmes-travail

Work pace

We frequently work more than forty hours a week but these extra hours are not taken into account in our salaries. Pressure from pace, ever-shorter deadlines and increasingly ambitious targets force our managers to work longer and longer hours. More common use of flat rates aggravates the problem, which adds to the depreciation of our technical expertise, our competencies and our responsibilities.

 

 

L’UGICT-CGT proposes taking action to :
  • Respect the work/life balance by supervising time slots for meetings and limiting the use of ICT outside group working hours.
  • For those working from home: comply with or improve – through sectorial or company agreements – clauses in the cross-sectorial agreement of 19 July 2005 stipulating in particular that mobile workers should not be excluded.
  • Lighten the workloads and assess them collectively.
  • Count up all the hours worked, no matter how they are compensated (or possibly paid) to comply with the legal number of working hours and preserve everyone’s health.
  • Encourage phased retirement systems for workers over 50 and with no job discrimination.
 

Negotiate the targets and the
resources for the responsibility

rse

Social responsability

Employers seek to exploit managerial staff to further their own strategy. All too often references to ethics and to corporate social responsibility are used as a cover to mask a less presentable reality: codes of ethics, codes of good conduct, displaying values in the form of commitments, such as respect for people or for the environment, are some of the guidelines for managerial practices.

Company executives therefore find themselves caught in the middle of the contradiction between virtuous talk and a more brutal reality, as “players” who have to propagate “generous” ideas, while implementing contrasting policies and shouldering moral or legal responsibilities that arise from this contradiction.

Shareholders’ interests and demands for profitability are increasing impediments to sustainable development, and to social and economic effective- ness. Gone are the promises about the essential role and place of managers, about progress in science, technology, in human relations, the company and their environment.

Although the goal should be to meet environmental, energy, economic and social challenges, the obsession with productivity and financial accumulation sabotage the meaning of work by quashing ethical values. The capacity for self-regulation flaunted by management commitments is evidently limited.

When companies talk of “loyalty”, we question its foundation: what are the objectives – to satisfy the shareholders, the client-users or the workers? Aggravated by the crisis, the results show that mollifying speeches are not enough. The meaning and organisation of the work must be guided by a search for sustainable economic and social effectiveness, as opposed to short-term financial profitability. We need to anticipate beyond employers’ strategies and the financial sphere.

It is important to refuse commands based on “values”, by demanding in all work contexts a precise analysis of what this principle involves, and what means and room for manoeuvre we have to implement it properly.

L’UGICT-CGT proposes taking action to :
  • Guarantee freedom of expression, particularly in work meetings. Group discussions on work organisation and how the company operates should allow everyone to express their potential for creation.
  • Recognise the enabling role of managers, which is to make sure that the work is not so much a factor of suffering and isolation but rather a means of humanising, a form of fulfilment for men and for women, in which everyone has a degree of liberty, through individual and collective creation.
  • Open specific talks on professional gender equality. These talks will be based on the compulsory annual report on the comparative status to identify any inequalities and determine what must be done to further gender equality in the company.
eval

Objectives and assessment

Because of their situation part way between management objectives and the actual work, managers must compromise with an organisation and targets which do not necessarily come from them, but which they have to pass on. Our role in the company, our jobs as designers, managers or leaders place us right in the centre of the confusion between our desire to innovate and the consequences of employers’ strategies.

Collaborative working groups are destabilised by targets assigned by company directors, which, even if they seem to correspond to legitimate goals, are in contradiction with the resources allocated to meet them. More and more executives have to manage projects with no power to intervene in the corresponding resources. Employers or managers (of companies and public administrations) pass health and safety risks and responsibilities on to us that we should not have to shoulder.

Taken to its logical conclusion, this idea would eventually lead to replacing the status of employee by that of a consultant and a return to piecework. And yet managers, just like all workers, are governed by general rules and regulations of all employed people, and particularly by the employer- employee relationship.

It is urgent to set up a real debate on the targets and on work organisations. These questions need to be discussed, with alternative proposals, interventions and by mobilising the workers.

We are constantly under assessment, constantly being judged. The assessment doctrine which can force people inward, becomes a huge part of the work of managers who are themselves managed. This obsession suppresses everyone’s freedom and creativity, particularly as a manager’s work is often difficult to assess.

 

 

 

L’UGICT-CGT proposes taking action to :
  • Set targets collectively. These targets must include discussions about the predictable consequences and the necessary resources. All performance reviews must include guarantees (transparency, means of appeal, etc.) and take into account the collective dimension of the work and its organisation (or changes in organisation).
  • Prepare the performance review in the collaborative working group. Resources provided by the employer must be discussed. Performance should not be assessed without a set of basic objective and transparent criteria.
  • Take into account the collective nature of the work in the reviews and recognise the individual contribution in this context.
  • In the event of disagreement with the targets set, allow for appeal to a professional body, based on the collaborative working group, in the presence of worker representatives.
 

Give meaning
to our work

sens-du-travail

Give meaning

A company’s goal is not exclusively economic and financial, but rather human and social. Management decisions must take into account the human, social and environmental consequences.

Based on these principles, we are in favour of establishing agreements as a means of making tangible progress, as long as we are truly committed. New individual and collective rights must now be attached to the ethical targets of the company and of society, to bring them more into line with citizenship and social needs.

UGICT recommends an alternative management method that does not replace collective social dialogue and aims at redirecting the role of managers to:

  • Restore and lead collaborative working groups that are geared to solving any problems collectively and enabling workers to share experience and meaning.
  • Strengthen support for people and for collaborative working groups (developing cooperation with other teams in different departments), innovation, etc.
  • Provide individual guidance and assessment.
L’UGICT-CGT proposes taking action to :
  • Obtain the right of workers to speak and vote at management meetings and a right to suspend in the major concerns of employment in the company.
  • Improve transparency in decision making by emphasising information and consultation with the workers and their representatives, including those of out-sourcing companies.
  • Promote whistle-blowing, alternative proposals to strategic decisions, consolidating jobs, better recognition of qualifications, civic responsibility within the company and the exercise of trade union rights, including in out- sourcing companies. .
  • Define action plans on priority issues of Corporate Social Responsibility, with follow-up and indicators, based on agreements negotiated with trade union organisations.

What is UGICT ?

UGICT-CGT is the principal trade union for Engineers, Managerial staff and Technicians. Over 80,000 members of the CGT are affiliated, in all industry sectors and all over France.

As engineers, managerial staff and technicians, we take action so that our aspirations and our day-to-day experience of work can be turned into majority trade union demands.

By assimilating the fact that we have a specific relationship to work because of our jobs, our level of responsibility, our expertise and our role in the organisation of our work, we also actively choose solidarity with all workers, for we share the same interests.

Professionally engaged and socially responsible

We take action to :

  • Obtain the recognition of diplomas and qualifications in wages and responsibilities
  • Obtain individual and collective rights to enforce our enabling role and our professional ethics, take action together towards properly reduced working time and workload.
  • Defend contributory pensions and the AGIRC complementary pension for P&MS. We demand that years spent in higher education should be taken into account when calculating pension rights.
  • Win professional equality between women and men.
  • Put an end to Wall Street Management and develop an alternative management approach.

UGICT is a member of Eurocadres, an organisation related to the ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation), to work for real social rights in Europe. UGICT has signed the “managerial social responsibility manifesto”. At world level, UGICT is a member of Union Networks International, to develop the convergence of demands in the service sector.

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