Dell Technologies is cutting about a hundred jobs at its Montpellier location

The first workers' departures were recorded in the context of a collective contract termination that has been in effect since December. A total of 270 people have to leave the team in Montpellier and Bezon. The Force Ouvrière union expresses its concerns for those who remain.

“Every day we get an email from someone saying goodbye.” It's time for mass departures from the Dell Technologies facility in Montpellier. At the end of last year, a collective contract termination was implemented at the multinational's two locations in France, Montpellier and Bezons in the Val d'Oise. Of the 323 walkouts originally planned by management, about 270 were recorded, including about a hundred at the Millénaire site which by then had 900 employees (800 in the Paris area). The breaks should last until the end of April.

“A collective dismissal”

Dell Technologies clarifies that the procedure implemented avoids any forced departure (read on the contrary) but for the Force Ouvrière union, the first trade union in Montpellier but not the majority, it is “Hidden collective dismissal” which primarily targets executives and supervisors.

The use of a collective agreement termination procedure exempts the company from any financial explanation, unlike a PSE. “These are decisions coming from the United States. In the American press, it is clearly stated that Dell wants to continue to reduce its workforce to have more components. Group action has never been higher.” observes Aurélie Tavernier, FO union representative. A year ago, the computer maker announced plans to cut 6,600 jobs worldwide. “What has been explained to the workers is that we are in an unfavorable economic situation, in decline, but they have no economic reason.” she continues.

Management: “There is no forced departure”

When contacted, Dell's Montpellier management was answered by an outside communications firm. A very short message in which the group confirms the signing of a collective termination agreement. “It concerns the two locations of Montpellier and Bezon and only provides for voluntary departures. There is no forced departure in this context.”. The company does not specify the number of departures recorded. For the reason, she replies, “In addition, Dell Technologies continuously evaluates its operations in order to remain competitive and ensure that it is able to deliver innovations, added value and optimal services to its customers and partners.”. Finally, Dell clarifies that it does not “I do not wish to share any further information on this matter”.

The world's leading computer manufacturer and retailer has been based in Montpellier for just over thirty years. The site houses the French and Southern European department and today has around 900 people of around thirty different nationalities, making it the largest private employer in the metropolis.

In February 2023, the company announced a massive plan to reduce its workforce (133,000 people). An announcement that came after a record year in 2021 with a turnover of $100 billion.

“We feel the discomfort”

The staff representative, however, criticized the voluntary nature of some of the departures. “Employees who would have wanted to benefit from this have been retained. And some who wanted to keep their position have been shown the exit door. Some are resisting but no longer have any future prospects. We are in some groups with 30% fewer workers , so the workload increases” mourns.

In some departments, such as sales, the number of initial applicants was much higher than originally anticipated. “And there were some failures, some services were forgotten. But if those services no longer have work, the workers will have to be reclassified.” explains Aurélie Tavernier, which evokes a degraded working atmosphere. “We are in the cracks. We feel the restlessness. It is good to try to start again with something dynamic, positive, but everyone is wondering what will happen in the next six months, even the managers are worried, they are no longer able to dimension the future prospects”. Basically, the union regrets that no support measures are included in this initial plan. “These measures should have been negotiated in parallel. We did not want to put in place an agreement that would allow us to support these changes, reorganizations of work. Which today gives a very complicated situation with groups in balance that are overturned.” notes Charles Saliès, his lawyer. “We stand for employment, employment. And we have to worry about those who remain. But there are no concrete answers” add Charles Saliès and Franck Mary-Montlaur, the secretary of the prefectural union who wishes to reopen discussions.

With Force Ouvrière, strained relations

Relations between Dell Technologies management and Force Ouvrière representatives remain strained. “We are trying to create problems in our union and our members. There are maneuvers going on every day. We are discouraging members, supposed candidates for elections. We will be vigilant.” assures department secretary Franck Mary-Montlaur.

He assures that several staff representatives were also pressured to leave the company as part of the collective termination of the contract. “Dell is a great company with significant resources. There are managers who want improvements. The goal is for this to benefit everyone” insists Aurélie Tavernier.

“We want to be heard and come back to the table for the employees who are staying put” continues Aurélie Tavernier. “The goal is not to damage Dell's image, but to start real, honest negotiations”.

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