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FRANCE

Actors hired to spy on employees of retirement homes, French union denounces

CGT union members preparing to demonstrate in June 2014.
CGT union members preparing to demonstrate in June 2014. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The CGT, one of France’s main union of workers, has brought legal proceedings to denounce a case involving comedians hired to spy on the employees of retirement homes in order to “infiltrate the union”.

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Three actors were hired in 2010 by Orpea-Clinea, a group of retirement homes and private clinics, as part of an “organized monitoring system,” said the CGT’s lawyer Sofiane Hakiki.

“Under the guise of preventive social risk management, the goal was to take the social pulse, notice hostilities from the management and then approach the union that seemed to be the most dangerous,” Hakiki said.

The fake employees hired as stretcher bearers or as cleaning persons were sent to three different retirement homes in France to make an assessment of the working environment.

The first step was to blend into the masses, then “try to get along with colleagues,” and finally “to take their defence and maybe even get elected in the professional elections,” the lawyer detailed.

The group Orpea-Clinea defended itself by saying this practice had nothing to do with spying and that it was only an “observing experiment”.

Spying on employees is not a new method. Disneyland Paris was condemned to pay a fine of 150,000 euros for looking into the police files of prospective workers. The German company Lidl was also condemned to pay a fine of 1.5 million euros for hiring detectives to watch their employees.
 

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