Nearly fifty years of working together to stand trial… Info from Sunday paper was confirmed on March 27: Orange’s fiber subcontractor, Scopelec, is suing the telecommunications giant for “brutal termination of commercial relations”. The summary summons was filed on 23 March with the Commercial Court of Lyon.
1000 jobs at stake
Scopelec, the largest cooperative group in France with 3,600 employees, lost 65% of its contracts with Orange in November 2021 after tenders were announced. The end of these contracts, due to take effect on March 31, will result in a loss of about 40% of turnover. In addition to its sheer scale — 1,000 jobs are said to be at stake — the dossier is proving to be politically sensitive in the midst of a presidential campaign, as the state is still a 23% shareholder in Orange.
The co-operative group has been in defense proceedings since Friday, March 18, as it is currently unable to compensate for the defection of its historical partner. However, Scopelec was the clear winner of the 2015 tender, which was extended in 2018 and again in 2020. “From the very beginning, we reminded our partners of the importance of quality interventions.and that we cannot be content with being in a form of systematic continuity from one call for tenders to another”, says Marc Blanchet, director of technical and information systems at Orange France.
Service quality questionable
It is on this assessment of the quality of the services provided that Orange justifies its non-renewal of trust in Scopelec on the occasion of the last call for tenders in February 2021. Last July, the subcontractor was informed that he would lose an important market Then, in November, Occitania from a number of regions (Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, Burgundy-Franche-Comté, etc.), citing, for example, temporary intervals of intervention with the client, too little respected.
If Scopelec recognizes that given the quality “may be part of the equation”he protests Orange’s public questioning on that one criterion. “We have increased our capacity by 25% in regions where we have not been updatedsays Thomas Foppiani, president of Scopelec. An exhaustive overview, area by area, testifies to customer satisfaction. »
40% less turnover
For a cooperative group that expected the loss of the Occitania market, but not others, the potion is more than a bitter one. “We’ll take on our flawsexplains Thomas Foppiani, but the magnitude of the loss of contracts is inconsistent with a four-month payback. » The leader claims he was trying to diversify his customers while devoting most of his energy to helping the operator, which is mainly involved in laying fiber in the country. “out of historical loyalty to him”.
Scopelec estimates the number of employees with an uncertain future at 1,000, while the transfer of employment contracts by other service providers is not obvious, in particular due to the seniority of several employees.
“We were unable to reach an amicable agreement.regrets the president of Scopelec. With Orange, the dialogue is not interrupted, but without reconciliation, only the law remains as a theater of our disagreements. »
Orange claims that Scopelec’s funds will not be exhausted immediately, the contracts for the 2015 tenders should continue for several more months. “We continue to have a dialogue, summed up a few days ago by Marc Blanchetespecially since in the future we will need Scopelec, which remains one of our main partners. »“We tried to be intermediaries, especially when transferring employees”he adds.
The dialogue will now have to continue in the courts. “The purpose of this call is to enforce our rights to beneficial notice and our rights to support, including financial support, in the face of the damage suffered.”Thomas Foppiani commented on Sunday, March 27, to the AFP agency. “Orange disputes the merits of this challenge”for its part, the telecommunications giant reacted in a press release, making sure that “meet all deadlines”.