Medium height, well-trimmed beard, dark attire. Matthieu Lépine, 36, is a history and geography teacher at the Lenain-de-Tillemont college in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), but he could just as well be a bass player in a rock band. He also admits with a touch of embarrassment to have been the singer of a group of friends, during his adolescence in Laval (Mayenne). “I didn’t know how to sing, but someone had to stick to it”, he admits with a smile. The sentence could illustrate the fight that has occupied him for more than six years: to make known to the general public the drama of the deaths of work. Started on social networks, his ” work “, as he calls himself, resulted in a book. In The Invisible Hecatomb (Seuil), which has just been published, Matthieu Lépine continues his inventory of deaths at work and denounces the systemic negligence that they illustrate.
“To die so young and so old, with this fucking self-employed status that makes you a worker without having the rights to do so… These two deaths made me want to be more efficient. » Matthieu Lepine
It was a sentence from Emmanuel Macron that determined him to start. In 2016, a few days before the Davos economic forum, the then minister of the economy under François Hollande said on BFM-TV that “The life of an entrepreneur is often harder than that of an employee. You should never forget that. He can lose everything. » Matthieu Lépine is then a young teacher in a college classified REP +. After having cut his teeth at Rennes-II University during the movement against the reform of the first job contract, in 2006, he joined the Left Party, then La France insoumise, participating, in 2012 and in 2017, to the campaigns of Alexis Corbière in Montreuil. At the same time, he keeps a blog on the history of social struggles.
After the “little sentence”, he begins to list workplace accidents on a daily basis. In early 2019, two autoentrepreneurs died a few days apart. Michel Brahim, a retired roofer, continued to work to supplement his monthly pension of 700 euros. Franck Page, 19, courier for Uber Eats, dies following a road accident. “To die so young and so old, with this fucking self-employed status that makes you a worker without having the rights to do so… These two deaths made me want to be more efficient”, he explains today.
According to calculations by Matthieu Lépine, at least 896 people died of an accident at work in 2019. That same year, Health Insurance counted 733 and Dares 790, the highest incidence rate of Europe according to Eurostat data.
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