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In Brittany, clandestine work in the crosshairs – Economy



Illegals on construction sites in Saint-Brieuc (22) and Plouescat (29): a few months after the control of undocumented workers employed without declaration to the State services for the collection of poultry in Finistère, the extensive investigations for illicit work are multiplying in Brittany. “The phenomenon is new, but for the moment it remains an anomaly in the Breton landscape”, tempers Sébastien Tilly, head of the regional unit for support and control of illegal work, for Brittany.

The question is one of the action priorities of the Labor Inspectorate, when such information is brought to its attention. Notably because of the risk of worker submission. However, the notion of modern slavery is not retained in the last two cases concerning the construction and public works sector. The fight against human trafficking gave rise, last year in Brittany, to four interventions, according to the labor inspectorate, “particularly in the agricultural sector”. Criminal investigations are continuing.

Fewer violations

Overall, despite the multiplication of checks carried out in the context of the covid crisis, the number of reports is tending to fall. It was particularly short-time working fraud that occupied the service last year for a total of 20 criminal proceedings, three of which relate to the identity theft of 120 companies for a loss of 3 million euros.

1,800 new checks are planned this year in Brittany, almost as many as in 2021, particularly targeting the sectors of activity of construction, hotels and restaurants, events, transport and renewable marine energies.

For Julian Zapata, the secretary general of Capeb Bretagne, the question is no longer really a matter of concern for building craftsmen. The establishment of the professional card and especially the measures deployed to promote professional training have partly solved the problem.

The false subcontracting in question

The decline in the number of offenses is however also linked to the difficulty encountered by the State services in characterizing them. This is particularly the case in the area of ​​posted work, the use of which continues to grow. These abuses have taken new forms requiring collaboration between the various regional departments to flush out foreign companies creating permanent jobs in France: last year, 35% of the administrative fines pronounced were for non-compliance with the rules relating to secondment.

False subcontracting, a consequence of “the uberisation of society”, also poses a problem. Appearing with VTC and home delivery, the phenomenon extends to the construction industry and even to mass distribution where the jobs of “independent” butchers who are not completely autonomous are the subject of particular attention from the administration.

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