• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
French workers forced to ask bosses if they need pee break
Photo: Dawn Huczek/AFP

French workers forced to ask bosses if they need pee break

The Local/AFP · 24 Mar 2016, 09:18

Published: 24 Mar 2016 09:18 GMT+01:00

French workers at a call centre are threatening to strike over their right to pee without having to get permission from their bosses.

Some 200 workers at the Teleperformance call centre at Blagnac, near Toulouse, have been told they must send a message to their bosses every time they step away from their desk and that includes trips to relieve themselves.

Their superiors then have to give the green light for each “pause-pipi”.

"It's degrading," Eric Dengean, a representative for the workers' CFDT union, told The Local.

"It's like we're in kindergarten where we are forced to raise our hands to be able to go for a pee."

The system was implemented on Wednesday and is a result of Teleperfomance meeting a request from their client, French mobile operator SFR-Numericable, for whom they operate the call centre.

"It's a form of blackmail on the part of SFR-Numericable," Dengean said, describing how staff have to press an icon to flag to their superiors what kind of a break they are planning to take.

"There's a coffee cup icon and then there's a toilet icon and so on," he said. 

The rule has been brought in to try to limit the time the workers are away from their post in order to maximise their output. Out of their seven hour day, workers are allowed a maximum of 30 minutes away from their desks that includes for toilet trips.

"It's the same for everyone, whether they have a disability or not," Dengean said.

An anonymous employee told local newspaper La Dépêche that 7 percent of the workforce were older or had disabilities and should not be forced to get green light from management if they want to satisfy a natural need.

Unions have made a joint call for workers to stage a walkout on Friday.

Thierry Godec, a representative from the CFDT union described the problems that workers will face.

“There’s a huge risk that managers won’t respond [to the requests for a pee break],” he told La Dépêche newspaper. “According to stats managers are only at their desks 55 percent of the time. So if it’s the 45 percent of time and an employee gets stuck on a long call they will burst a pipe."

Story continues below…

Teleperformance is the global leader for call centres and managers 65 call centres around the world for various clients.

The company declined to respond to The Local’s request for an explanation saying that all enquiries must go through their US press office.

L’Express newspaper reported that in 2012 the call centre was fined €750 by a labour tribunal for punishing an employee who took too many pee breaks.

 

 

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French towns divided over taking in Calais migrants
Photo: AFP

Towns across France are arguing over whether to take in migrants soon to be evacuated from the Calais "jungle" camp.

Paris region eyes up cable cars to unclog traffic jams
Could something like this be the future of transport in Paris? Photo: AFP

Did you know there are 12 cable car projects around the Paris region? Better than the RER trains surely?

Dos and don'ts to help you cope with writing in French

Writing emails in French is a whole new challenge that requires a whole new set of tips.

French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Photo: Ray Sadler/Flickr

Cher readers... Hope this helps. Cordialement, The Local

Paris banking district stages France's latest mock attack
Photo: AFP

The La Defense business district in Paris was the scene of the latest mock terror attack last night, as French authorities continue to take no chances.

French cows die after eating all winter stock in one night
File photo: AFP

Half a herd of cows ate themselves to death on cereals.

Grape thieves pilfer what's left of Burgundy wine harvests
Photo: AFP

Fed up with seeing thieves pilfer their precious grapes, vineyard owners in the famous region of Burgundy are taking extreme measures for the first time.

France to clamp down on rip-off home repair workers
All photos: AFP

Ever feel you've been ripped off by a plumber, electrician, or locksmith in France?

'Rogues' go on trial for ripping shirts of Air France bosses
Photo: AFP

A court in France will decide whether ripping the shirt off your boss's back is all part and parcel of a French labour dispute.

Hollande dealt major blow as jobless rate shoots up
Photo: AFP

The news could dissuade President François Hollande from even running for re-election.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
2,732
jobs available