a large-scale operation to fight illegal work

Between the many companies located in this area and the very important trade flows that pass through it, the Drôme, located between three large metropolises in the south-east (Lyon, Grenoble and Marseille), is a central point in the fight against illegal work ( TI) linked to mobility. To deal with this problem, and as part of Operation Vulcain, four checkpoints have been identified, each with three objectives: to fight against illegal work linked to the transport of goods, but also against that linked to transport. people, especially in tourist areas, and, finally, against the undue effects of the health crisis on these delinquency phenomena.

To meet these three objectives, the Drôme gendarmerie worked in collaboration with customs and several organizations: the MSA (Mutualité Sociale Agricole), the DREAL (Regional Directorate for the Environment, Planning and Housing), URSSAF (Union de Recouvrement pour la Sécurité Sociale et les Allocations Familiales) and DIRECCTE (Regional Directorate for Enterprises, Competition, Consumption, Labor and Employment), including the regional branch, URACTI (regional control unit responsible for the fight against illegal work), was also present on the operation. Inter-service work which constitutes the real added value of the Vulcain operation.

An inter-services on earth …

At one of the toll stations on the motorway bordering Valencia, while the sun has not yet risen, the soldiers, already at work, stop a utility belonging to a company; the type of vehicle targeted by the controls to combat illegal work. The gendarmes, from different units, check the papers and carry out, if necessary, a blood alcohol or narcotics test. After that, it is the turn of specialists from the gendarmerie or civilian organizations to enter the scene.

The ballet between the gendarmes and the agents of the services present on these three road checks is perfectly established. First of all, on the gendarmerie side, it is a unit little known to the general public which intervenes: the CELTIF (Cell for the Fight against Illegal Work and Fraud). Working in perfect collaboration with civilian organizations, its action is mainly focused on the fight against illegal or hidden work. Present only in certain areas of the territory, these units have very technical skills in economic and financial matters, thus providing unique expertise in this type of action.
On the side of civilian organizations, each then makes its entry according to the specificities of the workers inspected. The MSA takes care, for example, of everything relating to workers in the agricultural sector, whether they are gardeners, nurserymen or farmers. URSSAF, for its part, manages the problems of illegal work situations, such as concealed work, the work of employees in an irregular situation, etc. An action completed by URACTI, which intervenes to verify that the working conditions of the targeted people are respected.
Finally, the DREAL checks the legislation related to transport, such as the weight of vehicles or the presentation of consignment notes summarizing the activity of small carriers.

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… And on the wateru

The gendarmerie is present on land, but also on the water. On January 19, for the fourth control of Operation Vulcain in the Drôme, the soldiers of the department jump into the water and join the gendarmes of the Fluvial Brigade of the Gendarmerie (BFG) for the control of a drainage site from the banks. On arrival on site, the first to take action is the BFG, which takes advantage of this check to recall certain rules and check that all safety standards are respected, as explained by the commander of the river brigade. , Warrant Officer Christophe: “Above all, we are committed to controlling everything that is regulatory and that has to do with safety. We control vests, fire extinguishers and oars. If the engine fails, they must be able to get on board. A boat is not a car. If it breaks down, it doesn’t stop, it drifts. “

It is then the turn of DIRECCTE to intervene. Working hours, suitable equipment, presence of collective protection against the risk of falling, everything is scrupulously observed, noted and verbalized if necessary.
At the same time, CELTIF carries out checks related to illegal work. For this, different elements are taken into account. “We found the three employees present on the URSSAF file, so they are well declared. They have also been employed for over three years. We therefore have no indicator that turns red concerning illegal work ”, underlines Major Yvan, in charge of control. To complete the verification, all the elements recovered during this inspection will be sent subsequently to the various organizations, such as URSSAF, which will carry out further research.

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Results to match of the operation

On land and on the water, the four checks carried out in the Drôme revealed 18 offenses related to illegal work, 15 cases of vehicle overloading, 14 traffic fines and one person in an irregular situation.

Region-wide, the results are again very positive, with 77 IT-related offenses including, for example, performing concealed or unauthorized work, employing foreign workers without a title, lack of a construction card, concealed work by an employee or the use of false documents. In addition to these characterized offenses, the investigations will continue, this time in the offices, to verify the authenticity and the situation of certain employees and companies checked during the operation.

Beyond illegal work, 190 other offenses were noted, mainly related to road safety (driving without a license, etc.), but also to the situation on French territory (17 procedures), giving rise to three police custody.

At the end of this massive strike against illegal work, each group will continue, on its own scale and according to its own needs, the controls to fight against this scourge. In 2019, more than 800 offenses were noted by the gendarmes of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in the field of illegal work. In 2020, despite the health and economic crisis linked to Covid-19, more than 500 violations were observed. The action of the Savoy gendarmerie group notably made it possible to dismantle an illegal transport network for people between the airports of Geneva and Chambéry. Organized by a Lithuanian company, it employed 18 drivers, who received no salary and lived only on tips.

Operation Vulcain, whose aim is both preventive and repressive, thus announces the color for the year 2021 in the field of the fight against illegal work.

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