France: Carrefour strike in Marseille enters 11th day

Strikers blockade Carrefour car park

Till staff, shop floor workers and warehouse staff have been striking for 11 days now for better salaries and conditions.

Submitted by jef costello on February 12, 2008

The Grand Littoral branch of Carrefour is the only one in the country to have continued action after the national one-day retail strike. As a result Grand Littoral has been entirely closed for nine of the last eleven days. It is estimated that over 100 of the store's 571 employees have actively participated in the strike. Strikers have formed pickets and on Momday they used shopping trolleys to blockade the entrances to the retail park where the hypermarket is situated.

Most of the workers at Grand Littoral are on part-time contract, many cashiers for example are often on 30-hour a week contracts leaving them with a monthly income of just 840 euros after tax (£625). Workers originally demanded a one-off bonus, an increase in the value of their luncheon vouchers from 3.05 to 4.50 euros (which would cost the store an estimated 198,000 euros annually.) and for some adjustments to the pay rates. They have since withdrawn the first demand.

"We're not asking for the world." said Smaïl Aït Atmane a CFDT shop steward, "but we at least want our vouchers to go up from 3.05 to 4.50 euros. That's doable isn't it." Sourigna Manomay, who works in the fruit and veg department stated "With our salaries 11 days of strikes is pretty tough, but we are determined. We'll stick it out because we've had enough of being treated as though we're nothing."

The Carrefour PR manager Sylvie Cottin said, "In any case Carrefour isn't obliged to give luncheon vouchers to it's workers, and this type of demand has never been sucessful. We have offered to increase salaries by moving workers from 30 hour contracts to 33 hour contracts, we have also offered a 35,000 euro grant to the comité d’entreprise"

The entire retail park has seen a drop in sales with many customers understanding the position of the strikers. "I'm on their side. My daughter earns 1000 euros a month, I know how difficult it is to make ends meet on that salary" said shopper Christian Aperçé.

Translated with some editing from the Solidarité Ouvrière blog