French workers financial exploitation: Construction company SORACO denying salaries to French workers

French workers financial exploitation: Construction company SORACO denying salaries to French workers
A SORACO worker standing at a construction site (

It is with alarm that ImpACT International for human rights and businesses reveals how in France a workforce employed at a major building firm in France face losing their long-delayed pay and their employment. Société Route Assainissement Construction (SORACO) is in crisis. Millions of euros are unaccounted for and may be lost. As happens too often, it is hard working employees that face the worst consequences for the mistakes of management.

Not only have the workers been deprived of their salaries for the entirety of June and July they could be waiting many more months before receiving their pay, if at all. What is more, the employees are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic and higher taxation and fuel costs which have impoverished many.

A hearing is scheduled for 4th August to review the situation and those that have been denied their wages for the past two months. They can be provided with the funds they are owed. However, the Public Unemployment Fund scheme will take 60 days to distribute the monies to the workers. That means that the long-suffering staff may not have received any pay for at least 4 months, a ⅓ of a year.

The French government is failing its citizens from abuse by greedy and reckless employers, particularly those operating in the construction industry
– Robert Oulds, Executive Director of ImpACT International

This comes at a time when French families embark on their annual summer holiday, that should be a time of joy, but it is ruined by the ongoing uncertainty. The holiday season is also a period of great expense; however, some French families will be struggling to afford the costs of their getaway.

To make matters worse the employees are caught in a Catch 22 situation. If they resign from the company, ending their employment, or cease turning up to work, risking their dismissal – however unfair that may be – they will not be able to immediately claim unemployment benefit leaving them and their families destitute. However, should they remain at post and continue working they will remain an exploited part of the labour force and will not be gainfully employed elsewhere. They also have no guarantee that they will be paid, let alone receive, their back pay, anytime soon.

French labour law, which should not have allowed this situation to develop in the first place, is clearly lacking. The company’s attitude has also been reprehensible, it has so far refused to properly engage with trade unions and have not informed the workers’ representatives about how dire the situation is and how widespread this payment problem is. Nevertheless, the uncertainty is far from welcome. Given those facts there is a clear need for action.

ImpACT International calls on the French authorities to make payments immediately and to expedite the process of remunerating the workers and protecting their incomes in the immediate future. Payments must be made now, the state must intervene to make sure that workers are not unlawfully denied their wages.

If SORACO goes into bankruptcy and administration, those that have been denied their pay must take priority when disbursements are made. Going forward should SORACO fail the French government and President Emmanuel Macron should make all endeavours possible to provide training and employment opportunities for those that lose their jobs. Indeed, Macron’s administration must share some of the blame for this uncertainty.

Robert Oulds, Executive Director of ImpACT International, states, “The French government is failing its citizens from abuse by greedy and reckless employers, particularly those operating in the construction industry. Regrettably this is not an isolated incident. ImpACT recently reported on the abuse of migrant workers illegally employed and exploited at Olympic sites where they were toiling to construct the athlete’s accommodation.

“As France remains in the European Union some blame also rests with the authorities in Brussels whose policies have not helped the French economy, nor provides the protections which the people of France deserve.”


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