“We are the invisible, but without us there is no kindergarten”

“Demanding BBQ” in Allonnes (Sarthe), more classic gatherings in front of many town halls in the country… Some 50,000 specialized territorial agents of kindergartens (Atsem) were called to strike on Monday 5 September by the CGT government service and UNSA territorial unions. Occupation consists of 99% women according to the CBT, de Atsem ask for the bonus of 183 euros per month that the Ségur de la santé has awarded to child caretakers, carers and home helpers. Territorial category C officials, they also ask to integrate the category B of the civil service and want the hardships of their functions to be fully recognized.

This list of grievances is due to the lack of recognition that the profession has suffered for years, supports Delphine Depay, federal referee of the CGT for Atsem. before his eyes, “the salaries are extremely low, out of proportion to the missions and qualifications”. Depending on obtaining an “early childhood” CAP and passing the competition, an Atsem career starts at minimum wage and ends at around 1,700 euros net, for about forty hours of work per week.

Macron said we were essential

“We are the big forgotten ones du Ségur, but Macron said we were essential”, regrets Sylvia Sowa-Vérot, 40, who has been working in the trade since 2003 in Saint-Etienne (Loire). We are invisible, but without Atsem there is no kindergarten. » On the day of the specialized agent, first of all, there is the material preparation of the class, the reception of parents and children, and then the organization of educational workshops. Then the guidance comes to the canteen, the organization of the siesta and the awakening, the departure of the children and finally the cleaning of the class. It is also necessary to accompany the little ones to the toilets and teach them cleanliness.

“Many, in their forties, are automatically retired due to incapacity for work, with low salaries”, Delphine Depay, CGT referee

There is also, every July, the dreaded task of bricking the school from top to bottom, clearing the classrooms of all their furniture, waxing the floors, and washing the games one by one. “This month is exhausting, confides in Mélodie (she does not want to give her last name), 43, Atsem in Aisne since 2009. It takes a good week to recover. »

Among the sources of physical exertion, the Atsem evokes child carrying and postures close to the ground that cause back pain, constant noise or even manual activities that cause musculoskeletal disorders. “Many, in their forties, are automatically retired due to incapacity for work, with low salaries”, takes care of Mme Depay, for whom the recognition of hardship should open the right to “Early retirement without discount”.

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An overdue educational role

The need for recognition is all the more pressing as the Atsem’s missions have expanded since the distant “ladies in service” era. As of 2014, municipalities have entrusted them with the management of “new extracurricular activities” to avoid hiring facilitators. Then, in 2018, they became “belonging” to the educational community by decree, in which they had only “participated” until then.

In the eyes of Gaëlle Lenôtre, 52, Atsem twenty years in Six-Fours-les-Plages (Var), it is precisely this educational role that cannot be filled, given the current organization: “From the moment the teacher and his Atsem do not have the same employer [éducation nationale pour l’un, commune pour l’autre], there is no time to work together. » She cites instructive meetings that are organized during the lunch break, when the Atsem is busy in the canteen.

“We would like to be integrated into the educational community, as our status provides, but in reality we cannot”, Gaëlle Lenôtre, 52, Atsem

“We would like to be integrated into the educational community as our status provides, but in reality we cannot”she complains. Unlike, “During the Covid we were advanced to do the disinfection in retirement homes…”

Delphine Depay assures that, in late June and early August, the CGT twice asked the Ministry of Transformation and Public Action to open negotiations, without responding to date. In the cabinet of the minister, Stanislas Guerini, they say follow “carefully” mobilization, while the discussions are referred to the more general framework of the “Career and Compensation Project, Coming Soon for All Public Service Occupations”.

“Nervous, we are at the end of it”, alert while waiting for Mélodie, in Aisne. Due to the heaviness of the work, “many colleagues are thinking of retraining; I’m not disgusted enough yet.

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