A restructuring program at supermarket firm Carrefour will require a lot of work in the next few months and years. It has also left the labour unions fearing the future.
Several weeks ago, CEO Alexandre Bompard announced that he has tabled a major transformation plan, which should prepare the supermarket company for future growth. The plan will result in a huge number of changes and the French labour unions have already amassed at the French main office in Massy to request more information soon about these changes.
The plan was to reveal the transformation plan this year, but the deadline has now been delayed to early next year. It is highly likely that Carrefour wanted to avoid holiday strikes, but that careful tactic may actually have spooked labour unions.
Possibly 5,000 jobs lost
Bompard aims to simplify the company’s structure, which currently consists of several dozen companies. Carrefour labour union representative, Philippe Allard, believes that will lead to a lot of jobs lost at the main office. “We estimate that the main office in Massy will let 1,200 people go, out of 4,000 employees that work there now”, he told French LSA. He also believes that the gas station and distribution center automation will cost a lot of jobs. Labour unions fear that the new plan will result in about 5,000 jobs lost across the group.
Carrefour also wants to transfer a lot of its own stores to franchisees. This should help these stores to tackle problems faster and the hope is that they also perform better in the future. It is not clear which stores would be altered and it may take until March before that is revealed. Labour unions have also expressed reticence in this regard: employees will lose a lot of advantages if they move to a franchise Carrefour store.
Closures and work on Sunday
Carrefour also wants to shut down its weaker supermarkets and labour unions point to possible closures for several chains: Super Azur, Superadour and Carrefour Proximité.
The company also wants their hypermarkets to open on Sunday. Two labour unions have approved that move, but the local labour unions also have to give their approval. Carrefour itself has listed thirty hypermarkets that it wants to have Sunday openings as soon as possible.
Some also fear that Carrefour may soon get Fnac Darty employees to handle its audiovisual division, considering the fact that both groups have recently entered a purchase alliance.
Labour unions will have to wait until next month before they will be fully informed about which doom scenarios are true and which are not that disastrous at all.