French retailer Géant Casino will trial a with a staff-less hypermarket in Angers. The law on Sunday's rest would be avoided by only employing security personnel, but trade unions fear this will precipitate the end of the job of cashier.
The hypermarket currently closes its doors at half past twelve, but would now remain open until nine in the evening. By adding eight new payment terminals and paying an external company to have three security officers on site, the extended Sunday opening would "not require our staff to work longer on Sundays". As consumers' needs change, "we have to evolve with our offer to match that change", management says.
The Casino in Angers is not the first store to use this trick: the group itself has already trialled it in smaller proximity stores. Three stores (in Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier) are even opened around the clock using this system. However, Angers has the very first store of this size that opens without staff.
French trade unions are not all that glad with the pilot project: "After opening on holidays and Sunday mornings, now this full automation. How far will thay go next?", asks CFDT. Force Ouvrière sees an advantage as well: "In this case, technology helps employees as they can now stay at home on Sunday afternoons", Laurence Gilardo says in Le Courrier de l’Est. However, "a full automation may cause jobs to disappear over the longer time, and that worries us." The 115 employees themselves share that fear, however they are convinced that "human contact in a store will always be necessary" - a sentiment that is shared by the store's management.