Jean-Jacques Salaün is ” angry “. “Now is not the time for controversy; it is good citizenship! “, annoys the general manager of Inditex in France. Since mid-March, the 320 stores that the subsidiary of the Spanish group operates under the Zara, Oysho, Bershka or Massimo Dutti banners have all been closed in France; 10,000 of its employees are on partial unemployment.
Their general manager echoed the call for recruitment launched by Monoprix, on March 22, to all employees sent home following their partial unemployment.
“About ten brands – from the clothing, catering or cultural goods sector – have responded positively to this call”, specifies Sandra Hazelart, Director of Human Resources (HRD) at Monoprix.
While employees of supermarkets are worried – the sector is bereaved by a second death due to the Covid-19 epidemic, since the death of a 52-year-old cashier, employed by Carrefour in Seine-Saint-Denis -, the CGT judges the approach of Monoprix “Dangerous”.
“Public utility mission”
According to Monoprix, the circumstances require the adoption of this unprecedented recruitment process in France. Because, everywhere, supermarkets are taken by storm. Sales soar. This is particularly the case in the provinces where, on the first day of the confinement period, Ile-de-France residents went into exile in their second homes.
In the middle of March, the level of sales is similar or even higher than that observed in summer: they increased by 49% in the Lot and 45% in the Landes, for example, for the week of March 16, according to Nielsen. The staff are therefore subjected to a trying pace that will not abate anytime soon.
The 600 Monoprix of France are therefore worried about running out of arms. Like Carrefour or Auchan, at the request of the government, the brand will grant a 1,000 euros bonus to its employees to thank them for staying at their posts. “We had to find solutions”, says the HRD, whose goal is to keep the stores open and, thus, to “Make the Monoprix’s public utility mission ”, which is to feed the people.
Confronted with absenteeism of around 10%, the brand is recruiting on the basis of a ministerial circular of 2013; this text allows employees whose employment contract has been suspended to occupy “Another job in parallel” and of “Benefit from additional remuneration”, she specifies.
Monoprix seeks employees or supervisors. It offers them fixed-term contracts (CDD), part-time, to fill the shelves and prepare the orders made online. The remuneration is at least 1,540 euros full-time. About a hundred Inditex employees responded. And, each day, forty applications reach the HRD of Monoprix.
However, this initiative is not to the liking of the CGT. “There are many other methods to compensate for absenteeism in stores than resorting to employees who are lucky enough to be on short-time work”, judge Elodie Ferrier, general secretary of the CGT for the trade and services branch, by demanding the reduction of the opening hours of the points of sale and their closure on Sundays. “At the risk of increasing the number of customers in the store? It does not make sense. It would be contrary to social distancing measures ”, taunts a store manager.
The union believes that “Absenteeism in the sector is of the order of 40%, taking into account the number of patients, the exercise of the right of withdrawal of employees and the sick leave of employees responsible for children under 16 years old “.
“It is an endangerment”
To believe Mme Ferrier, the appeal of Monoprix “Is not serious, contrary to what the President of the Republic imposes on the French by asking them to stay at home” and “Offers employees on partial unemployment, confined at home, a second time the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus while working”. Although Monoprix employs these employees in empty stores in “Outside of customer opening hours”, sa recruitment process “Is an endangerment”, laments Mme Ferrier.
The opposition of the CGT to the use of partial unemployment employees “Is an incomprehensible position”, judge M. Salaün, wondering “On what will happen tomorrow if, for lack of employees, the food store located downstairs from your home closes its doors”. The manager, whose company has decided to compensate 100% for the loss of wages of his employees on short-time work, observes that “Some employees will distribute meals at the Restos du cœur; others help farmers in the fields to collect their harvest ” to answer this “Historical crisis”. Since then, “This is not the time to enter into a spirit of quarrel”, he judges, on appealt “everyone to be united” so that the “French people can continue to eat”.
Our selection of articles on the coronavirus