Séquestrations, quel antidote ?

Comme mes fidèles lecteurs ont pu le remarquer, Hospidroit a été séquestré durant plus d’un mois pour des raisons que je ne développerai pas ici, l’essentiel étant désormais qu’il reprenne du service pour toujours mieux servir celles et ceux qui prennent la peine et le temps de lire les quelques lignes que je parsème ça et là.

C’est d’une toute autre séquestration, moins virtuelle, qu’il s’agit d’évoquer dans le présent billet. Le mois de mars a, en effet, vu la multiplication des séquestrations des cadres de direction : l’hôpital Emile Roux (AP-HP) le 12 mars dernier, Charles-Foix le 18 mars, Joffre-Dupuytren le lendemain, Cochin, le 24 mars et René Muret le 25 mars. Cette contagion a provoqué une réaction vigoureuse de la FHF, à travers un communiqué qui précise : « Même si la FHF ne représente pas les directeurs, mais les hôpitaux en tant que personnes morales, elle ne peut accepter que les directeurs soient pris en otage et deviennent des boucs émissaires, alors qu’ils gèrent leurs établissements avec le seul souci de l’intérêt général et de celui des salariés ».

Les restructurations induites notamment par la loi HPST (ne l’accablons pas outre mesure) poussent certains agents à recourir à ce que les Anglo-Saxons appellent le « bossnapping ». La stratégie s’avère payante, dans certains cas. Dans d’autres, ce sont des poursuites pénales pour délit de séquestration qui attendent leurs auteurs. Vingt ans de réclusion criminelle, tel est le sort réservé par le code pénal (art. 224-1) aux personnes qui se sont livrées à cet agissement. Toutefois, si la personne détenue ou séquestrée est libérée volontairement avant le septième jour accompli depuis celui de son appréhension, la peine est réduite à cinq ans d’emprisonnement et 75.000 euros d’amende, à moins que la personne ait subi une « mutilation ou une infirmité permanente ».

Passés sept jours, le délit devient donc un crime.

Chaque séquestration dans un centre hospitalier est unique et ne répond pas exactement au même malaise ou aux mêmes circonstances de fait qu’un autre établissement. Des données factuelles locales et un contexte particulier entrent nécessairement en ligne de compte. Cette démarche pénalement et moralement répréhensible est une chambre d’écho médiatique inégalable.

Comment dès lors réagir face à ce phénomène ?

En premier lieu, il ne faut rien lâcher sous la contrainte et être très ferme sur le fait qu’il ne se passera rien tant que les cadres de direction n’auront pas été libérés, la séquestration n’étant certainement pas un moment propice à la négociation.

En deuxième lieu, il importe de solliciter, par écrit, l’intervention des forces de l’ordre pour obtenir la libération des dirigeants. Les huissiers de justice doivent être contactés pour procéder à des constats, qu’on pourra faire valoir lors d’une éventuelle procédure contentieuse. C’est la liberté d’aller et venir qui est manifestement battue en brèche, sans parler de la liberté du travail qui est entravée. Une requête en référé liberté devant le juge administratif ne pourra, à ce titre, être exclue.

S’agissant de la voie pénale, la jurisprudence se montre extrêmement ferme : constitue le délit de séquestration le fait, par des salariés, de retenir contre son gré, pendant moins de cinq jours, un chef d’entreprise sur les lieux de travail, même s’il n’est pas usé de violences, afin de le contraindre d’accorder des avantages qu’ils réclament. Encourt la cassation l’arrêt qui, ayant expressément relevé l’existence des éléments tant matériel qu’intentionnel, relaxe néanmoins les prévenus au motif essentiel que les conflits collectifs du travail constituent souvent des sources d’affrontement pouvant impliquer des immobilisations de personnes plus ou moins prolongées, qui ne sauraient, en l’absence de violences caractérisées, donner matière à poursuites répressives ((Cass. Crim., 23 décembre 2006, n°85-96.630.)).

Dès lors qu’il s’agit d’une infraction pénale, la décision de requérir la police appartient au Ministère public. Le représentant du Parquet apprécie dans ce cas si l’intervention d’une équipe de policiers est opportune et ne met pas en danger la sécurité des personnes séquestrées.

Il faut bien reconnaître toutefois que, dans les faits, les tribunaux se montrent cléments, encore que l’employeur public pourra prononcer une sanction disciplianire contre les auteurs de tels faits, allant jusqu’à la révocation.

Parce qu’elle n’est pas un moyen de droit, la séquestration ne doit pas gérée par l’affrontement mais par le dialogue. Il est donc important de s’y préparer en :

  • estimant le risque sous la forme d’un tableau
  • misant sur le dialogue avec les représentants du personnel
  • impliquant le management par l’information
  • préparant les négociateurs à esquisser le conflit
  • choisissant un « observateur » pour calmer le jeu
  • n’oubliant pas que la séquestration est un délit (au minimum)
  • sachant que le séquestrateur risque une sanction disciplinaire pouvant aller jusqu’à la révocation
  • acceptant ce qu’ils veulent, les engagements pris sous la contrainte étant annulables
  • identifiant les meneurs
  • exigeant d’être libéré devant témoins.

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