250 elected officials from Ile-de-France demand the postponement of the privatization of transport – RT in French

In a letter addressed to Elisabeth Borne, the elected officials advocate the suspension of the opening to competition, planned for the RATP bus network from 2025. According to them, this will be synonymous with a deterioration in service and conditions. of work.

“Dangerous or even crazy”: this is how the 250 elected officials who signed an open letter to the Prime Minister, published by The world this January 2, qualify the maintenance of the calendar of opening to competition of transport in the Ile-de-France region.

More specifically, they are alarmed by the opening to the private sector of the bus lines currently operated by the RATP, the network to be managed solely by private companies from January 1, 2025, in application of a European directive. of 2007.

The signatories, including the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, the president of the LFI group in the National Assembly Mathilde Panot or even the communist senator Eliane Assassi, believe that this change is fraught with risks, while staff shortages are already disorganizing deeply the transport offer in Paris and in all the bordering departments.

The elected officials thus ask Elisabeth Borne to intervene with the president of Ile-de-France Mobilités (IDFM, the organizing authority for Ile-de-France transport), Valérie Pécresse, who “wished for the opening to the private sector of the transport lines buses today operated by the RATP, without consulting users,” they write. Recalling that the first calls for tenders were published in 2022, the authors insist on the dangers of “lesser social bidder” linked to this competition.

Big leap into the lowest social

According to the elected signatories, the bus drivers, as well as the personnel ensuring the operation of the network, risk being the victims of the competition in which the various operators will engage to win the contracts, by playing on the time of work as well as on the remuneration of employees, the maintenance of which “is in no way guaranteed” according to them, the wage bill remaining the first item of expenditure and therefore an essential lever for reducing costs.

According to the authors, the first invitations to tender published only confirm this threat, since they set the price criterion as the first element of scoring candidates’ offers, “i.e. 40% of the final mark”.

They also cite the cases of privatization already carried out outside the RATP network (Melun-Val-de-Seine, Saclay plateau) where “working conditions and transport conditions have been degraded”, triggering both strikes by drivers and user dissatisfaction. And, if the agents refuse to sign a private law contract with the new operators, they “will be dismissed for economic reasons, that is to say without severance pay”, they say.

In total, it is no less than a “massive social plan” which threatens transport employees, which “would add to the structural shortage and would have the immediate consequence of a further drop in supply for users”, they warn.

Alert on a telescoping with the 2024 Olympics

In order to avoid this “great leap into the least social” and to “find quality public transport”, elected officials are therefore asking for the immediate suspension of the process of opening up to competition, in order to put an end to what they call it a “leak forward”. This desire for privatization is also maintained “in total opposition to European feedback and reports in other French regions”, according to the authors, who cite the abandonment of competition in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (on regional train lines).

As pointed out The worldthe letter from the 250 elected officials points to the risky telescoping of this calendar of opening to competition with that of the Paris Olympic Games in 2024, already mentioned by a previous letter sent to Matignon in December by Anne Hidalgo.

“RATP drivers will be called upon to work throughout the summer and autumn of 2024 and transport the nine million to ten million spectators from all over the world, just when they are told that they are going to leave the bosom of public management to join Transdev or Keolis, their two main competitors”, points out the daily, while the agents could hope for a career within the public management. For the authors of the letter, it is “the relentless process of preparing for the transfer of part of the staff” to private operators which would explain “in part the historic shortage of drivers” in the capital region.

RATP facing multiple difficulties

Not sharing the observations and postulates of the elected representatives of the left, Valérie Pécresse also let it be known on January 2 that she remained “unfavorable in principle to the postponement of the opening to competition”, which would be “unfair for travelers” in the insofar as it would deprive them of a better quality of service” in Paris.

“Competition is good for customers,” she reaffirmed in a reaction sent by those around her to AFP. On the social level, IDFM has prepared, according to the same source, “a set of social requirements unique in Europe to reassure agents and guarantee them that competition would not be to the detriment of the quality of life at work”.

Faced with recruitment problems, high absenteeism, strikes and equipment maintenance problems, the RATP has been struggling for several months to run its buses and metros correctly, resulting in sometimes very long waiting times. and crowded vehicles. In his wishes broadcast on December 31, Valérie Pécresse promised that the “exceptionally strong” penalties that the RATP will have to pay for faulty service would be paid in compensation to users. The former presidential candidate, who announced in mid-December an increase in the price of the Navigo pass from 75.20 to 84.10 euros, asked the management to restore the transport offer “100% “.

According to The Parisian, an exceptional meeting of the IDFM board is scheduled for January 13 with the operators to specify the terms of this return to full service. Former Prime Minister Jean Castex, whose appointment as head of the RATP sparked controversy, will participate for the first time.


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