On January 6, Emmanuel Macron traveled to the Congress of the Federation of Solidarity Actors to remember the order of priorities and to correct. “These professions are in crisis, he says. They are inadequately recognized, with career opportunities that are too unattractive and difficult working conditions.”
After him, In February, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the extension of the Ségur bonus to social workers183 euros, and announced the creation of a common agreement for the health and social care sector to “solve widespread difficulties which structurally hinder the involvement of professionals in this sector, while it is the 4th private employer in France and that its needs will increase sharply under the impact of retirements and population aging “, he confirmed.
After two years with Covid-19, a controversial unemployment reform and an economic crisis that is expected to be extended over time, social work has never been so important to Francea country that presents itself to the world as a country of solidarity, public service, and which is proud to have implemented a system of “whatever it takes” during the pandemic.
From Béarn and Charentes, Violaine Trabarel and Coline Lembert, social workers in urban policy and psychiatric hospitals respectively, are members of ANAS, the national association of social workers, representing the rights and interests of working women throughout France.
We social workers are everywhere, in schools, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes and nurseries, but no one sees us.
Volunteers, both found time, in a busy workday, to answer our questions. They are mobilized to make their work, their vocations visible and remain dubious in the face of the latest announcements from the Executive Board. “We social workers are everywhere, in schools, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes and crèches, but no one sees us. Because we are a human profession, therefore not very lucrative and essentially feminine, we are not recognized at our fair value and suffered from a real shortage of funds“, Apologizes Violaine Trabarel.
His colleague adds: “The Castex messages (sic) have not reassured anyone and are not satisfactory. If we take the premium of 183 euros, we do not even know who will receive them. It turns out that the contours of social work have not even defined, we have been trying to do it for 4 years, we span several ministries “.
The two social workers, like many others in the care of others – the “care” – have searched in vain for things that occupy them in the political discourse and campaign promises, they have only been able to find them on the fringes. behind immigration and a purchasing power that does not concern them, neither them nor the people they care about: “We have the visibility of the public we support, they are not visible, we are no more,” explains Coline Lembert.
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“We hear many complaints about our work, but no promises or concrete elements to give us the means to work properly,” she continues. Not about the working conditions of social workers or the problems of integration, housing, access to public services … On the other hand , and we welcome that, we are talking about the lack of support for social assistance in orphanages and nursing homes ”.
On May 12, 2021, social and family economics counselor Audrey Adam, 36, was shot and killed by an eight-year-old she was visiting.
Locally, a white march had gathered a thousand people. But unlike the police or soldiers who died in the place of honor, no national tribute had greeted the devotion of the worker. A silence that crushed the professionals.
I myself have been a social worker for 17 years … 17 years with those whom society rejects, denies, hides … We die of poverty.
“She was shot, and no one talks about it, no one demonstrates, and no minister takes the microphone. Nor any journalist. I myself have been a social worker for 17 years … 17 years with those whom society rejects, denies, hides. “We die of misery. We also die of not existing, of not being so ‘media’ interesting”, was touched by a listener as he grabbed the broker from Radio France.
A distance between field workers and politicians
An observation shared by Violaine Trabarel and Coline Lembert, which according to them helps to highlight the distance between workers in the field and policy makers: “I have worked for 17 years and nothing has changed. The problems are” worse with a changing public , new precarious people, the refugees to be helped. We can hear these issues in the political debate, but we never hear the reality from professionals in the field “, annoys the first.
With an average salary of 2300 euros gross per month, extended working hours and often precarious contracts, however, the latter would have something to say. “Working conditions are difficult for some colleaguessome have to think before they go to the dentist, others go to a social worker, we have many fixed-term contracts, fewer and fewer permanent contracts “, emphasizes Coline Lembert, who regrets that her calling can not attract people.” SMIC for a bac +3 that can scare students. “
Some colleagues would need to see a social worker.
If they assert their right to reservations and prefer not to comment further on the presidential election, the two workers, like their colleagues, show an unfailing will to fight: “Everyone knows we will always be there, the families we ‘meet’ have an impressive strength. and patiently await their turn, assures Violaine Trabarel. The day we are finally heard by politicians, it will also be the victory of our audience“.