In Marseille, hypermarket closed and employees determined to bend Crossroads

Dam of carts in front of the entrance of a Carrefour hypermarket in Marseille, Saturday, march 31, 2018 (Photo by BORIS HORVAT. AFP)

A line of shopping carts blue, lying on the ground. The main hypermarket Carrefour (PA:CARR) in the Northern districts of Marseille was paralyzed Saturday by employees on strike, determined to make it fold a group that distributes 356 million euros in dividends.

Cashiers, material handlers, technicians… For these employees paid the Smic or a few euros more and a good part of juggling with schedules, part-time, the drastic reduction of the premium for participation, 57 euros this year on average, compared with 610 euros previously, has made the vase overflow.

Was 08: 30, the iron curtain was opened in a concert of horns of mist, in the middle of flags of orange and red of the CFDT and the CGT. Behind the picket line, the lights are on, a few security guards in place. But on the eve of Easter, no customer will return.

“We take for shit !” exclaimed Raymond Golay, gray beard and rings in white metal with a finger. After 22 years at Carrefour, technician, key, 1.100 euros per month. “There is no recognition, we spit on it.”

For these employees, many from the northern districts of Marseilles, stricken by poverty, a day on strike is a sacrifice. This cessation of work, it is already 140 euro less in the budget at the end of the month, explained Thomas, and Coralie.

Their 5 year old son on his shoulders, they form a “family” Crossroads, fruit and vegetables, it in the box. “The salary is to pay the bills. The premium, it is what allows us to live, and go on holiday”, explains the young man of 28 years.

They hope that blocking on a Saturday of Easter, one of the biggest days of the year in the distribution, will move the company. At the heart of the northern neighbourhoods, overcoming the sea, Carrefour Grand Littoral should make a cross on the 600,000 to 700,000 euros in turnover, according to the CGT.

– “Profitability at all costs” –

The direction is “from a position of strength, but with blocking, they will suffer,” says Tania, a student in BTS who works part-time at the cashiers and went on strike for the first time.

“I need to work to pay my studies,” explains the young woman, who works every evening until 21: 00 and every Saturday. “I have to do an internship in the bank and I did not what to pay me the clothing needed. The times are hard”.

Beyond the premium, “we want our salaries increase, and there are also a lot of local problems: students who work with a cut in the middle of the day, without being paid, discrimination, trade union…” stresses Samia Belaid, an employee of Carrefour for 15 years, megaphone in hand.

“In a shop of 500 employees, there is a risk of losing six positions. They already have the intention to automate the service station and the crates,” adds Smaïl Ait Atman, the representative of the CFDT. “The CEOS slice in the bright, it is not in the lace. It is the cost-effectiveness at any price”.

Without condemning this speech, six executives of the store, non-strikers, who take their break away, however, regret the deadlock in the store. “It is not good, they send the clients direct to the competition”, warns one of them.

Most of the customers who came Saturday were, however, supportive. “Fortunately, the little ones defend against big,” says Cfia, 52-year-old, who had to fill his shopping cart of chocolates and Easter lamb.

“I know that it was closed, but this is not that far away from home, and I came to support them,” says a pensioner in a leather jacket, Maurice Toncerri. “As a former worker, I wish them to succeed.”

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