While the city council has declared the end of the extended meal delivery service, the union of CFDT retirees has called on the sub-prefect. The union denounces an incoherent situation.
On July 10, the sub-prefect of Haute-Garonne as well as 17 elected officials from the territory were sent a letter from the CFDT alerting them to the abolition of the meal delivery service for the municipalities which were hitherto served by Gourdan-Polignan. In the eyes of the union, intermunicipal collaboration must be implemented at the level of the Territorial and Rural Balance Pole. “The Comminges Pyrénées country seems to be the right structure to think about a common project” analyzes Bernard Loubet, secretary of the interprofessional union of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor. “The goal is to bring all the players together around the table, to make a precise inventory. You have to look at the territory as a whole. We are talking about Pays Comminges Pyrénées but if it is so that everyone stays in their corner, we will not succeed” explains Progreso Delgado, secretary of the local Union of retirees, at his side. Trade unionists, although aware of the financial difficulties linked to this service, also draw up the negative balance sheet of this decision, with an impact which is not the least for employment. “From September, the municipality will part with 14 contract workers. There will also be consequences on the environment because bringing meals from Toulouse rather than favoring the short circuit is not nothing. For Bernard Loubet, this decision is part of a more global context of the disappearance of the public service. The secretary of the local union also notes the differences in treatment across the Haut-Garonne territory: “The department should have taken care of it, in the name of the principle of equal treatment between the city and the countryside. We have the feeling of being forgotten, of being under-citizens. To deal with this situation, seniors who do not live in Gourdan will probably have to turn to private companies. A decision that will be hard to swallow.
Patrick Saulneron, mayor of Gourdan-Polignan: “It’s an admission of failure”
It was a difficult but necessary decision, judging by Patrick Saulneron’s explanations. For the first magistrate of the city, the problem of the financing of the portage of the meals does not date from yesterday. “The site has been around for 25 years and we’ve been in the red for 25 years. “A debt which would be due to the refusal opposed by the community of communes to co-finance the service.
“Since I was elected in 2014, I have been trying to integrate the intercommunality, without success. I also participated in several meetings where I asked for help and nothing came of it. »
Like the French Democratic Confederation of Labour, the mayor regrets the lack of harmonization across Comminges “It’s a shame that we don’t work together on the issue of supplies but also journeys. The whole territory benefits from this meal delivery. »
Despite a deficit budget, the municipality tried several solutions to reduce the bill. A strategy that has not been helped by the economic context of recent years.
“We have increased the number of meals prepared to 1,200 in the hope of making economies of scale. Then came the Covid, the rise in the price of energy, the increase in the cost of transport. It all ended up killing us. If we had continued, I would have endangered the budget of the commune”. From September 2023, only schools and residents of Gourdan-Polignan will continue to benefit from meal delivery.
Thoughts on solutions
Gourdan-Polignan is not an isolated case; in Comminges, the whole territory is concerned. It is also for this reason that the Comminges-Pyrénées country – the structure that brings together the three communities of municipalities – took up the file. “The reflection is indeed in progress” recognizes the president, François Arcangeli. No decision has yet been taken, but the principle of a collective response from the entire territory is in the dark. “School catering concerns more than 4,000 children, plus individuals, including the elderly. A structure on a Comminge scale would require a huge central kitchen and a large territory to serve. Added to this is the complexity of sourcing local products”.
At the same time, the Cagire Garonne Salat community of municipalities (also chaired by François Arcangeli) is considering a more modest structure, “at the community level”.
Not within the jurisdiction of the county council. Contrary to what the CFDT representatives indicate; the departmental council is not in a position to provide solutions in terms of home delivery: it remains “attentive to the situation in Comminges, but this is an activity that does not come under its jurisdiction, it is the domain of municipalities or communities of municipalities.