Aspocomp V Force Ouvrière

Overview

NCP Decision Accepted
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 04/04/2002
Date Closed 13/11/2003
Case Duration 84 weeks and 0 days
Host Country France  (OECD member)
Sector Telecommunications 
Issue(s) Failure to consult on the closure of a plant
Provisions Cited IV.3  IV.6   
Case Description In April 2002, the French trade union Force Ouvrière (FO) raised a case with the French NCP concerning the conduct of the Finnish telecommunications multinational, Aspocomp. FO alleged that the company had failed to consult with trade unions before announcing the closure of its plant in Evreux, thereby contravening the framework of redundancy scheme negotiations signed on 18 January 2002.

On 18th January 2002, trade unions and Aspocomp SAS had reached agreement on a `plan social` - a plan to compensate 210 employees who were to be made redundant out of a total workforce of 550. On 21st February 2002, the Aspocomp Group decided to stop financing its subsidiary Aspocomp SAS, which led to the bankruptcy of the latter. Two consequences ensued: the company did not honour its commitments under the `social plan` and the remaining 340 employees were fired.

Developments Aspocomp refused to participate in the tripartite consultations conducted by the French NCP. In December 2002, the French NCP wrote to the Finnish NCP to request assistance in exerting pressure on the company to attend.

The Finnish NCP convinced the company to attend a meeting on 28 February 2008. At this meeting the parties failed to agree on the interpretation to be given to provision IV.3 of the Guidelines.

Outcome In its final statement in November 2003, the French NCP noted that the company had not acted in conformity with the Guidelines. It found that not only had Aspocomp violated Chapter IV, paragraph 6 as cited by the complainant FO, but that it had also failed to comply with Chapter IV paragraph 3. MEDEF (the French Employers’ Association), however, did not share this conclusion.

This case also involved parallel proceedings. A dossier was submitted by the employees’ lawyers to an industrial tribunal in November 2002. The proceedings went to the Rouen Court of Appeal and then the Court of Cassation, France’s highest appellate body, which confirmed compensation to the workers totalling 11 million Euros in September 2007.

Organisations

Lead NCP France NCP : Tripartite (involving several government departments and the social partners) 
Supporting NCP Finland NCP : Quadripartite (involving several Ministries, the social partners and NGOs) 

Companies

Multinational Company Aspocomp (Home country: Finland)
Subsidiary Aspocomp SAS (Home country: France)

Complainants

Lead Complainant FO - Force Ouvrière : National Centre 

Related Documents

Force Ouvrière  [Publication date: 3/4/2002] 'MONDIALISATION: 550 LICENCIEMENTS À ÉVREUX'
   http://www.force-ouvriere.fr/page_principal/communique/index.asp?lk=c&id=563&fl
   =2002
[Date URL accessed: 2/5/2012]

OECD  [Publication date: 13/3/2003] 'COMMUNIQUÉ PUBLIÉ PAR LE PCN FRANÇAIS CONCERNANT ASPOCOMP'
   http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/5/37/38033004.pdf [Date URL accessed: 2/5/2012]

TUAC Analysis

Did the NCP publish its initial assessment? status-icon
Did the case involve parallel proceedings? status-icon
Was the existence of parallel proceedings an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Was the businsess relationship other than that of a subsidiary? status-icon
Was the nature of the business relationship an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its acceptance of this case? status-icon
Did the NCP offer mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the company accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the complainant(s) accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation held? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation conducted by a professional mediator? status-icon
Did the parties reach agreement? status-icon
If yes, did the NCP publish this agreement following the consent of the parties? status-icon
If mediation was refused or failed did the NCP make an assessment of whether the company had breached the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP conduct in-host country fact finding? status-icon
Did the NCP make recommendations to the company on the future implementation of the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP publish its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP provide for follow-up of the agreement/recommendations? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP inform public pension funds about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP apply any consequences in this case? status-icon
Did the NCP follow the indicative timescales set out in the procedural guidance? status-icon
Was there a positive outcome for the workers involved in this case? status-icon
Did the filing of the case under the Guidelines have a positive impact for the workers involved? status-icon
Did the lead NCP play a positive role? status-icon
If different, did the home NCP play a positive role? status-icon

TUAC Assessment

Although FO was satisfied with the outcome, the decision of the NCP had limited effect given that Aspocomp no longer had activities in France. Moreover, the procedures were extremely tardy, partly due to the slow reaction of the Finnish NCP and the fact that the company had refused to meet with the French NCP.

Implications

Company refused to meet with the host country NCP; example of the need to engage the home country NCP; the lead NCP ruled against the company on provisions of the Guidelines other than those cited in the complaint; divided opinion of the tripartite NCP.