France: "Pourquoi La Meilleure Avocate Française En Droit Social Pense Que Notre Droit N'est Absolument Plus Adapté À Ce Qu'est Devenu Le Travail"

Last Updated: 18 July 2018
Article by Emmanuelle Barbara

Le droit social ne répond pas encore complètement à la logique du 21ème siècle, estime Emmanuelle Barbara, qui vient d'être désignée "Avocat français de l'année", dans la catégorie droit social, par la revue juridique américaine Best Lawyers.

Atlantico : Alors que la France connaît une situation de crise qui dure depuis l'année 2008, soit 10 ans qui ont vu le taux de chômage augmenter de façon considérable, comment le lien de confiance entre employeurs et employés a-t-il évolué du point de vue du droit social ? Constatez-vous une dégradation du lien de confiance liant employés et employeurs des consécutive à la crise ? Ces comportements, sont-ils devenus structurels ?

Emmanuelle Barbara : Très franchement, répondre oui ou non serait excessif dans les deux cas. On ne peut qu'avoir un point de vu nuancé.

S'il faut tenter de répondre, je dirai que l'époque citée a été riche en restructurations et en plans sociaux successifs très importants.

Donc, forcément, cela ne renforce pas le lien de confiance. Mais il y a d'autres phénomènes. De 2008 à nos jours, c'est aussi l'époque où surgissent de façon très claire d'autres formes de travail qui sont venues offrir d'autres perspectives de modes de travail que celle que nous connaissions traditionnellement. L'introduction par ailleurs des nouvelles technologies et notamment de la digitalisation inquiète, car on ne sait pas de quel impact en termes d'emplois cela se traduira.

Un autre phénomène, très différent, provient de la lassitude qui résulte du travail en entreprise du point de vue de la personne. On assiste à une sorte de rébellion vis à vis de l'organisation verticale de l'entreprise. Une quête d'autonomie et de sens à l'engagement est recherchée qui peut conduire à se détourner du contrat de travail en faveur de l'entrepreneuriat et de la start up vue comme un moyen d'échapper à ces organisations. Les entreprises se trouvent ainsi confrontées à devoir préserver la santé mentale au travail pour juguler les phénomènes de souffrance au travail, tels que les burns-out ou le bore out. On relaie dans l'opinion publique ce que sont les « bull-shit jobs ». Bref, les relations entre l'entreprise et ses salariés sont mal ressenties et 71 % des Français expriment une défiance vis-à-vis des entreprises et de ce qu'elles représentent.

Alors que la France connaît une situation de reprise économique depuis environ deux ans, constatez-vous une modification des rapports sociaux découlant de ce nouveau contexte ?

J'aimerais répondre que oui. Je crois qu'il y a une prise de conscience collective et politique également du besoin de modifier les rapports sociaux. Le modèle désormais consiste moins dans l'obtention d'un emploi devant être accompli au profit du même employeur toute sa vie que de donner les moyens à l'individu de maîtriser ses orientations dans une carrière desormais fractionnée. Je crois que cette modification de la conception des rapports sociaux est réellement souhaitée mais qu'elle remet en cause les habitudes de fonctionnement de l'entreprise comme des personnes qui sont longues à changer. Un sondage du CSA concernant la lecture des ordonnances Macron par les patrons de PME montre que 64 % d´entre eux estime qu'ils ne modifieront pas leur approche dans la négociation collective. Le bilan de toutes ces réformes me parait mitigé à ce jour, mais c'est normal. Le droit offre des possibilités nouvelles dont il faut pour cela s'emparer et en comprendre la réelle portée. Et il faudra s'en emparer pour s'adapter à cette époque rapide, instable, favorable à la mobilité et nécessitant des protections adaptées à cette mobilité.

Quelles sont aujourd'hui les lacunes du droit social aussi bien du point de vue de l'employé que de l'employeur ?

Fondamentalement je ne peux pas répondre en termes de lacunes. Cela voudrait dire qu'il manque quelque chose à un édifice qui serait adéquat aux besoins économiques et sociaux. Or, notre édifice en droit social ne répond pas encore complètement à la logique du 21ème siècle. Il est en train d'être construit. On change petit à petit au moyen de lois et d'ordonnances vers un autre modèle de l'accomplissement du travail et nous n'avons pas encore défini entièrement la figure du travailleur type du 21ème siècle comme les modalités d'acquisition des protections dans ce contexte. Nous sortons à peine de la représentation type du salarié qui reste toute sa vie dans son emploi initial. Nous sommes au stade où nous introduisons les moyens juridiques de favoriser la possibilité de cumuler des statuts et des jobs différents. En d'autres termes, au siècle dernier, nous protégions le fait d'être immobile et de conserver un bulletin de paye le plus longtemps possible. Aujourd'hui, on recherche à protéger davantage la mobilité du travailleur. Actuellement, nous vivons l'entre deux-époque. Nous sortons difficilement de la logique du passé et nous batissons en tâtonnant petit à petit celle du futur. L'exemple le plus flagrant de la recherche d'une nouvelle logique est celle du chômage que l'on voulait d'abord étendre aux travailleurs indépendants et que l'on réserve pour le moment à des cas relativement restreints du monde de l'entrepreneuriat.

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