At 53 years old, including 28 to make children laugh, “Doudou” is a sad clown. “I love making kids laugh, but today I feel like no one wants us anymore, he recounts. We are considered “non-essential”, even as contagion dangers. “ With his multicolored wig and his funny red-nosed mask, he demonstrated Monday, December 14 at the Invalides, in Paris, with restaurateurs, hoteliers and nightclub managers, all unable to work for long weeks. “We have no more customers”, recalls the one who lost 85% of his income and fears that the public will end up “Do without culture”. “But I don’t want to reorient myself, he assures, because it’s a job that I do with passion! “
” This is not real life ! “, for her part, laments Jeanne (1), an employee of a restaurant in a motorway area in the south of France. “During the first confinement, when I looked at myself in the mirror in the morning, I said to myself: ‘You are an unemployed woman’, remembers this mother with a singing accent from the South. Of course, I know it’s not the same when you’re on short-time work, but I can’t shake the feeling of living at the expense of society. “
Especially since, if the employees of his company benefit from the devices of the partial activity, this does not necessarily cover all the loss of income. “The thirteenth month is calculated on the actual working time: the periods of closure of the company will therefore not be taken into account, she explains. There are also certain bonuses that skip, the meals that we take at home when they only cost us 3.5 € at the workplace, the heating that we put on all day at home. … It is particularly hard for those who live alone and have a budget to the euro. “
Also a staff representative, she modestly details the difficulties of some of her colleagues who find themselves at home, “Cut off from the world” : “We don’t have a social life: it’s not good for morale. And then, some find it difficult to explain to their 6 or 7 year old child why they do not go to work in the morning. ““Employees are the collateral and silent victims of restaurant closures, notes Thierry Boukarabila, Force Ouvrière central union delegate at Courtepaille. The social organizations I work with sometimes have two and a half months of overdue files, so they are overwhelmed with people who can no longer fill their fridge or pay their rent. “
With a “hotel smic” of € 10.15 an hour, many employees, often part-time, are struggling to get by with an allowance of 84% of net salary. “And some income is not taken into account by partial unemployment, such as tips. In Paris, where it remains a common practice, it can represent 50 € to 150 € per month, depending on the establishment. “
He also points to the psychological consequences of the obligation to stay at home. “We’re used to serving people, interacting with customers and all of a sudden there’s no more fuss. It is a profound rupture. “ In the Paris region, the support line set up by the hotel and catering branch even had to “Inflate its workforce”, he warns. “And at the idea of a third wave, some are in tears on the phone”, he adds.
“Currently, I live from day to day”, underlines Christophe, butler who, between partial unemployment and loss of tips, lost 40% of his salary. “We don’t have a psychological unit, but our head of department is very attentive”, he continues. If he himself took advantage of the lack of activity to “Learn new languages and increase [ses] skills “, he also saw many of his collaborators resign. A large number of the new employees of Amazon or mass distribution are also seasonal workers in hotels and restaurants who have not found a job.
If the hotel and catering industry is one of the sectors most affected by partial activity – in October, 450,000 of its employees experienced at least one day of partial unemployment, or 43% – other branches are also suffering , such as events where restrictions were right at the majority of trade shows. Stand fitter in a specialized company, Eddy (1) has hardly worked since March, except for a few hours in September. “I suffered a loss of wages of about 20%, he confides. It is all the more sensitive in this period as autumn is a busy season for trade fairs and therefore overtime. “ If he is delighted with trade fair promises to support his business, he says he is increasingly worried about its sustainability if professional events were suspended for several more months.
But besides the anxiety of the future, he also feels an instability in his personal life: “The benchmarks that work provides in your daily life have disappeared. There is like a great void. This partial unemployment made me understand how important my profession was for my balance. “ Some companies took the opportunity to reorganize, such as that of Armand (1), video sales manager in one of the heavyweights in the sector. “At the first confinement, we had no activity for a month and a half. Then we went to cruising speed, with digital, events broadcast in streaming, platforms for various experts, conferences for the government… ” The young man nevertheless recognizes that “Not all are hit in the same way”. “The most versatile can work, but this is not the case for all, because the profession is very heterogeneous: some do not work at all, others exercise 50% of their activity, others 100%…” With very hard effects, especially on those used to working a lot of overtime. “From € 2,000, some have gone up to € 1,500 per month. This is a huge loss, especially for those who have families or are paying off a loan. “
At Air France, pilots are also subject to a part-work mechanism that changes their ordinary activity, particularly on medium-haul flights, where they only make a few flights per month. This is the case of Jean-Jacques (1), captain of Transavia, the low-cost subsidiary of the French company. “In November, I only made three round trips and flight simulator sessions”, he reveals, recalling a year in seesaw when only the summer period allowed him to fly at an almost normal pace. “At the moment, we are certainly less trained, but knowing that we are vulnerable makes us even more vigilant, observes the captain. When we have the chance to fly, it is urgent to take your time to ensure that, in this special context, our mission is carried out in complete safety. “ Jean-Jacques estimates his loss of salary at around 30%, a significant drop even though he is aware that his salaries are comfortable. “Personally, I experienced the drop in my activity better during the first confinement, he admits, but now it’s starting to take a long time. ” The pilot measures all the more his chance to practice his “Passion job”, he said. “I understand how our colleagues who are retiring feel: to take advantage of all the flights, each bringing us their share of technical, human or cultural experiences. I miss it all! “
Director of animation, research, studies and statistics (Dares) of the Ministry of Labor, Selma Mahfouz, however, underlines the positive effects of partial activity schemes on employment in this period of crisis. “Unlike the 2008 crisis, we have not yet observed an increase in Pôle emploi registrations linked to redundancies but rather for purposes of temporary work or fixed-term contracts”, she declared last week during a round table organized by social information journalists. “90% of employees who have not worked were covered by partial activity”, she insisted. Remain the “Blind spots” partial activity, as precisely those who chain the CDD. “This is the case for the immense part of the reception of the event, thus points out Romy (1), hostess in general public or professional fairs, each time with contracts of a few days. When fairs were canceled, the organizers just told us to turn to Pôle Emploi. And only those who had accumulated enough hours of work were able to benefit from a few allowances. The others, like me, found themselves with nothing. “ The “extras” of catering are particularly affected. “From the first confinement to today, I only worked four days”, reveals Eric, butler in extra for twenty years and who benefits for the moment from unemployment. “But I am very worried about the unemployment insurance reform which is coming”, complete the one who has “Always worked and paid his taxes”. And to conclude, in tears: “I never thought I would one day experience this. “