For the second time in less than a year, the criminal justice system has just sanctioned the Spanish temporary work agency Terra Fecundis – recently renamed Work for All – in a case of posted work fraud. Friday 1er April, the criminal court of Nîmes fined him 375,000 euros for “concealed work” and “employment of foreigners without title”. This company is, moreover, subject to a ban on carrying out its activity on French soil. In July 2021, she had already been sentenced for similar offenses by the Marseille court.
This time, Terra Fecundis-Work for All is not the only one to be sued. The judgment delivered on Friday also concerns seven French farmers, who had used the services of the Spanish provider while having been alerted by state services that they were illegal. They were given fines of 10,000 euros – accompanied by a suspended sentence, the amount of which varies depending on the case. Implicated for having accommodated employees in “unworthy conditions”one of them was also given a six-month suspended prison sentence.
The procedure relates to facts which were reported between 2017 and 2019 to the Nîmes prosecutor’s office by the labor inspectorate and by the border police. Terra Fecundis had provided Gard market gardeners with workers to pick fruit and vegetables. A workforce whose rights were trampled under foot: wages lower than the hourly rate of the smic, holidays passed by the trap, untraceable pay slips, etc.
Such practices have taken place by deviating from the so-called secondment regime. This allows an employer to send staff abroad, while paying social security contributions in the State where he is established. On one condition: “exported” employees must only carry out relatively short assignments in the host country. An obligation that Terra Fecundis has dispensed with following, leaving its temporary workers to work for months in France, without registering them with Urssaf, while paying its contributions in Spain, where they are less heavy.
The judgment rendered on Friday recognizes “the determination of our services to pursue a long-term investigation which has made it possible to gather evidence of the illegality of the activity of Terra Fecundis in France”confides Paul Ramackers, the head of the Gard labor inspectorate who played a key role in this file. “It is obviously a very satisfactory new decision since it “drives the nail” of the judgment of Marseille, of July 2021”adds M.and Vincent Schneegans, the lawyer for the CFDT, one of the unions which had become civil parties, with the CFTC, the CGT and FO.