UN “management by terror”. This is the expression that comes up the most to describe what is going on in the offices of the France 2023 public interest group, known as GIP 2023. The organization was created in 2018, with the mission of delivering in five years the next Rugby World Cup organized in France. Mission that turns to the ordeal for the 70 employees working on the project, according to a survey of the team published in its Wednesday edition.
The sports daily collected the testimonies, edifying, of about fifteen employees. Several of them suffered from professional exhaustion syndrome, others from burnout. “Right now, at least six of them are off work, most of them for overwork, anxiety and depression…” says the newspaper. Of these 70 employees, “around twenty” quit their job and “at least four more” could do the same. Resignations, negotiated departures and sick leave in series mean that “full service” would be understaffed. “The workload for those who are getting crazier and crazier,” says someone who threw in the towel. It’s a vicious circle.”slips an employee on condition of anonymity.
“You’re just a dirty little bitch”
In particular: “outbursts of verbal abuse” of Claude Atcher, 66, ex-rugby player converted director of the GIP, and his chief of staff, Marie Houzot. “You’re just a dirty little bitch”, “poor shit”, “you won’t get anywhere if you don’t get your fingers out of your ass” appearing among the daily insults. “One day, an employee was so manhandled and shocked that he peed on himself”report the Team.
To this must be added “sick hours” (the offices, located in the premises of the Maison de la Mutualité, in the 5th arrondissement of Paris are still full at 11 p.m.), “emails at no time, phone calls at the weekend… And if you don’t answer, we’ll make you feel guilty. The right to disconnect is not respected at all”, says a victim. Claude Atcher would have “lost sense of reality” and would feel “almighty, as if untouchable”.
A the team, an employee compares Atcher to Maximilien de Robespierre: “Every morning you wonder he’s going to decapitate.” Another person warns: “We know it’s getting worse and worse there. […] I am convinced that if this continues, we will have a drama. […] If we let it happen, there will be a death. Another testimony, no less chilling: “I’m surprised no one threw themselves over the catwalk. I have never known an atmosphere like that… People are crying in the toilets.”
Where is occupational medicine?
Furthermore, the team adds that there is no occupational medicine within the GIP since January. An absence of a provider contrary to what the labor code provides. Several employees have therefore not been able to consult in recent days or even in recent weeks.
This is not the first time that the name of Claude Atcher appears in the news. Early June, the team revealing that the managing director of the 2023 Rugby World Cup would be tried in September, along with Mohed Altrad and Bernard Laporte, as part of suspicions of favoritism around the sponsorship of the XV of France. It compares for “concealment of breach of trust”, “misuse of corporate assets” and “concealed work by concealment of activity”.
According to a source close to the investigation, justice suspects Claude Atcher of having provided, between 2017 and 2018 via non-existent services paid to his company Score XV, around 80,000 euros that Bernard Laporte would have diverted to the detriment of the FFR.