The Swedish group Essity wishes to equip its French employees with a case, worn on the waist or around the neck, which would ring in the event of too much physical rapprochement, an initiative that outraged the CFDT, the number one union in the company.
As AFP reported on January 13, the CFDT section of Essity – a Swedish company specializing in the manufacture of hygiene products and which has around 2,500 employees in France – sharply lambasted management after – here proposed equipment specifically intended for its employees based in Europe which would aim to protect them against the spread of Covid-19 in their workplace.
“A system comparable to that which deters dogs from barking”, according to the CFDT
In essence, the Swedish group proposed to equip its workforce with a box that would ring in the event of too much physical proximity. “A case worn at the waist or around the neck”, according to the newspaper The world.
“It’s a system comparable to the one that deters dogs from barking […] It is completely anxiety-provoking, it infantilizes the employees, ”denounced the union in a press release quoted by AFP.
According to the CFDT, these necklaces emit a sound of 85 decibels as soon as social distancing is no longer respected. “The idea is to discipline employees and call them to order,” denounces Christine Duguet, CFDT union delegate, who asserts that there has been no contamination between employees at Essity.
And the unionist to denounce “an attack on individual freedoms” which the employees would not want. “[Ces boîtiers] will end up in the trash or stay in the lockers, that’s nonsense, ”she warned.
The management of the group, which produces under various brands of paper towels and handkerchiefs, sanitary napkins, diapers or make-up removing cottons, for its part defended itself by invoking its wish to “strengthen employee safety”.
“This device does not include a geolocation system and is not linked to personal information,” said the firm, according to which the device would be inactive in the toilets, in the company restaurant or even in the infirmary.
“With this system, the site’s Covid referent would be able to alert potential contact cases more quickly and comprehensively”, said Essity: “The operating procedures would have to be determined with the employee representative bodies. […] discussions are underway for the implementation of this system in several European sites of the group ”, added the Swedish company.
“We think that behind, after the Covid, we could continue to use this system for security, we fear that it will end badly”, worried the trade unionist CFDT, noting employees already tired by the health crisis and outraged by this new measure.
A social and economic committee (CSE) is to meet next week during which the management must specify its project, according to the CFDT.