Precariousness, moral harassment, burn-out… The curse of Télématin

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What is happening in the editorial staff of Télématin on France 2? This flagship program of France Télévisions experienced a real internal bleeding from 2019 to 2021. In total, nearly a dozen columnists decided to slam the door. At the head of the line, we find the columnists Brigitte-Fanny Cohen, Isabelle Chalençon, Sarah Doraghi, Jean-Philippe Viaud or Marie-Dominique Perrin.

Since 1989, it was the famous animator William Leymergie who animated every morning this program which became cult over the years. To everyone’s surprise, he was the first to leave the ship in 2017: “I wanted to get out of my comfort zone (…) I was always told that it was better to start from the top, not to wait too many fights. (…) I had been thinking about handing over for a long time”, he told TV Mag in 2017.

A “violent” departure for journalist Laura Tenoudji who runs the web section of the show: “It was a real upheaval. I had a hunch, but I thought it would last another season. It was violent. (…) There is a big void”, she confided to Closer before adding: “I do not deny that he has character and that he is not always easy. There have been mornings where you have to scan your mood to adapt. But he’s not an executioner either.”

Replaced in stride by Laurent Bignolas, the Télématin program seemed to have a bright future ahead of it. But that was without taking into account a recent proposal from France Télévisions which precipitated the wave of departures started this summer by William Leymergie’s joker, Thierry Beccaro.

The waltz of departures is linked within Télématin. On Tuesday July 21, 2020, it is the turn of journalist Valéry Lerouge to bid farewell to the morning show of France 2. After having officiated for five years as a correspondent in Brussels for the public service, he chose to leave his post. in Belgium.

On this occasion, presenter Laurent Bignolas paid tribute to the height of his colleague, surrounded by other columnists on set. “We wanted to pay tribute to you and thank you for these five years of work, friendly smiles, information, images”, launched the host. What Valéry Lerouge, touched by his words, retorted with nostalgia and emotion. “It’s been five totally crazy years […] It’s been an absolutely exciting, exhausting job, but I loved this period here and with a great team that I would like to thank in passing”.

If the departure of the journalist was done without incident, it is nevertheless added to a long list of departures which shook the editorial staff of the program. We note in particular the successive farewells of journalists Brigitte-Fanny Cohen, Jean-Philippe Viaud, Sarah Doranghi in September 2019, Marie-Dominique Perrin in August 2019, or even Sophie Le Saint in July 2019. A real hemorrhage to which is also added Isabelle Chalençon, Henry-Jean Servat, Gregoire Tournon, Anissa Arfaoui, Marie Mamgioglu, Béatrice Beboit-Gonin and Anne-Christine Horent that same year.

Since August 23, 2021, Thomas Sotto and Julia Vignoli have taken over control of Télématin from Monday to Thursday, while Damien Thévenot and Maya Lauqué take over from Friday to Sunday.

As reported by Le Figaro, the management of the group would have proposed to the columnists to transform their CDD into CDI from October 1st. If on paper this proposal seems advantageous for employees, it would not be in practice. Indeed, this requalification would lead to a reduction in salaries and would lead to a loss of their seniority.

“Either the interested parties accept and continue to participate in the show, or they refuse and leave”, report our colleagues. “They are offering to rehire, but on unacceptable terms. After 10, 20 or 30 years of collaboration, it is absurd”, said one of the columnists in Figaro.

A member of the editorial staff would also have claimed that the columnists had little time to make their decision: “We were given a period of 15 days to say yes or no. And those who answered yes to the CDI, but on condition of being able to negotiate the exact terms, were at their expense”, reports Here.

Isabelle Chalençon, fashion and beauty columnist, also returned to her departure on the show Morandini Live on October 1: “I returned to Télématin in September 1997. I had twenty years of precariousness because I signed fixed-term contracts at daily. Until two more years, I had 330 days of CDD per year.

Admittedly, I didn’t work 330 days a year, but we had a multiplicity of contracts: you were doing live, you had a contract; you were going on filming, you had a contract”, she explained before adding: “In 2015, I attacked France Télévisions to ask to have a CDI after twenty years of CDD. I obtained a CDI but with 40% less than my salary. I had to accept this CDI otherwise it was job abandonment. In July 2017, I appealed against this judgment. I returned as an employee of France Télévisions without meeting HR and without signing a contract”.

If the columnist Isabelle Chalençon was first indignant at the working conditions within the France Télévisions group, she also revealed that she had been the victim of moral harassment.

“In February, I had a depression, a burn-out, following my second industrial tribunal where I attacked France Télévisions for breach of contract. Contract that I did not sign. The lawyer for France Télévisions asked for a postponement, they are dragging us out to get us through. (…) You start crying, you have anxiety attacks, you can’t sleep. Just talking about it, I have tremolos in my voice. Since February, I haven’t been well at all. I want to turn the page. At that time, it is moral harassment. We cannot prove it today. It’s not reprehensible yet. When you have two columns and, overnight, you are told ‘your report is not interesting’. You only pass once, we change your day, we take you away at the last moment“, she explained in Morandini Live.

The morning theater columnist, Jean-Philippe Viaud, has decided, for his part, to attack France Télévisions at the prud’hommes. “After having interviewed some 2,800 artists, for their creations filmed and presented in 1,432 chronicles chosen from nearly 5,000 works seen or read, after having signed more than 630 precarious contracts, the number 1,433 of the chronicle ‘Shows’ will not see the light of day. … End clap. Rideau (…) Following unacceptable proposals, followed by an announcement of the end of collaboration in a few words, I unfortunately have no other choice but to seek compensation by seizing the competent legal institutions”, he said. he wrote on his Facebook account on September 10.

“After fighting constantly, camera in hand, to defend live performances and their creators, known or unknown, it is time for me, today, to no longer suffer the anxieties, pressures, intimidation, verbal aggression or physical, discrimination, blackmail, incompetence, abuse of power, indifference”, he added before concluding with these words: “FYI: Since July, to date, I have not received any message, or call, emanating from the production of Télématin or Frtv in general”.

Invited this February 18, 2020 in the program L’Instant M on France Inter, the flagship journalist of France 2 confided behind the scenes of Télématin. The one who notably holds the column The Four Truths, did not mince words then affirmed that the atmosphere was not always good.

“It was hard, I’m not going to tell you stories … There were very painful moments for people who had been there for years,” she said at first before returning on the successive departures of columnists and journalists: “It was a pretty rough period. Laurent Bignolas in an interview explained that those who are still there are very motivated and we hope that the worst is over (…) It’s is a great show and when I came back from vacation I said, ‘How are you?’ and I was answered with a smile, ‘It’s ok!’ I want to believe it…”, she concluded.

The news had the effect of a bomb. According to the information revealed on Jean-Marc Morandini’s blog, an employee of the Télématin program tried to commit suicide last week, “exhausted by this situation”. And for good reason, according to our colleagues: “The employees of this program (Télématin editor’s note) are in the process of being transferred to one of the group’s production subsidiaries (…) The employees fear losing many advantages and many refuse it.

Faced with this, the president of France televisions, Delphine Ernotte, finally broke the silence. “This tragedy occurs in a decried context; I maintain that the strengthening of our subsidiary remains a strategic objective, but in this context of incomprehension and this escalation of tensions, I have decided to stop this automatic transfer. The production of these programs will be transferred , but the employees will be able to choose”, she declared to the blog of Jean-Marc Morandini.

Since 2015, journalist Caroline Roux hosted the political interview Les Quatre Vérités in the Télématin program on France 2. In the columns of Télé Magazine, the star of the small screen spoke of her departure. “‘I did a big five-year term there. I loved this appointment and the team,” she explained and continued: “Frankly, I forced myself to stop because getting up every morning at 5:30 a.m. is exhausting. I had to change the pace.”

Caroline Roux has therefore decided to take time for herself during the summer season. “I take a break voluntarily, to try to catch a little breath. And I put my mobile phone away”. So what will she do next school year? “It is presented in a dense way since I set up a new daily meeting, L’Invité de C dans l’air, where we receive a personality in direct contact with the news of the day. It’s an idea which germinated in my mind and in that of the producer when he knew that I was stopping Télématin”.