Bar le Duc. Portuguese company suspected of defrauding France

Two Portuguese nationals are on trial for concealing an activity. Does the temporary employment company have to be declared in France? That’s the whole question the judges will have to answer.

June 20, 2021 at 06:30

Ancerville, Saint-Dizier, Ecrouves, Commercy, Baudignécourt… in Lorraine. In recent years, the courts have repeatedly found traces of a Portuguese company specializing in temporary work and employment of Portuguese labor on French soil. Through this company Portuguese workers came to work quite legally in Lorraine firms.

hidden work

If business contracts are perfectly legal, it is the company’s situation that poses a problem for justice. Hence the summons, Tuesday, before the Criminal Court of Bar-les-Duc for two Portuguese. He was prosecuted for “carrying out a concealed act and an unlawful secondment of labor for profit”, and the manager of the Portuguese temporary labor company, represented by his lawyer, was absent. Only the second, Joachim, was present, and he was tried for “complicity in carrying out a concealed action”.

He would have been a mediator for the temporary company, and his first name appears several times in the file. There is nothing illegal in itself and in this case, no notion of unauthorized vulgar labour, but disrespect for French labor law in respect of hired workers, is considered by the public prosecutor who, after an investigation by the Inspectorate, decided to prosecute two men.

turnover in France

“The foreign company must respect the obligations in the labor law, not have a stable activity in France, and not recruit only for employment in France”, emphasized in particular Mi-Chloe Bonnet, lawyer of the professional organization Prism’emploi that fights illegal work in the sector Temporary work. The lawyer put forward several arguments: “Most of the change rate in France, the staff hired in Portugal to work in France, the staff is not affiliated with the social security institution in France…”

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Many of the points that Sofiane Saboulard, the public prosecutor, has addressed in his requests. For him, “the company was aware of the fraudulent organization,” with “workers sent without respect for travel rules.” A practice that would have “distorted the game of free competition,” with “a foreign company not registered in France, lowering prices, lack of Temporary work … “.

Exceptions to the rule

Numerous arguments, to which Me Fabrice Gossin, lawyer specializing in labor law and advocate for the manager of the temporary fund, responded by citing several decisions showing in particular the company’s failure to register in France. “You have been told that 97% of the activity is done in France, while 60% of the contracts are done in Portugal,” the lawyer shrugged, table in hand. The sales volume achieved in France is higher than that achieved in Portugal? It’s simple: “French contracts are paid three times more than in Portugal.” As for the 183 employees employed in France, the lawyer still sweeps the argument: “They were 50 at most annually, and the labor inspectorate realized that they were full of duplicates.”

Joaquim’s lawyer, Ana Alexandre Cozzolino, demanded the release of his client, because “there was no intent to commit a crime. He had just obtained a contract linking him with the temporary company to find employees in Portugal.”

Given the complexity of the case, the court retained the judgment of 10 July after the public prosecutor requested 180 daily fines of €50, or €9,000 against the defendants and €25,000 against the Portuguese community.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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