New Look France employees to benefit from €2.5 million job protection plan and state outplacement assistance
“These measures are a reward for the tenacity shown over the course of many months by [New Look France's] employee representatives, backed by some of the staff who, from June 21, also occupied several of the chain’s stores,” said the SUD Commerce trade union in a press release.
“The [French] Labour Ministry will activate a major job protection procedure, releasing €1 million in funds for taking control of [New Look’s French] subsidiary,” said Judith Krivine, counsel for the employees, speaking to AFP. “It's a victory, but it's also an outrage that the State and the taxpayers have to shoulder this burden, when the company’s British majority shareholder has refused to support the job protection plan,” added Krivine.
Within the next few days, New Look France’s 400 or so employees, working in the retailer's 30 French stores, should receive their letter of dismissal, after the Paris trade court ruled on the company’s liquidation on June 28.
The redundancy terms are the statutory minimum, for want of extra support from the British parent company. The €2.5 million job protection plan is earmarked for support measures like training, help with new job creation, etc.
“Since the UK parent company put up a stonewall with regards to any indemnity for the adversely affected workers, we are ready to undertake action to make [New Look] face up to its responsibilities,” said SUD Commerce. According to Krivine, the employees could take the matter to the industrial tribunal, and could also sue for damages with the trade court.
“At a time of extensive job cuts in the apparel, mass market distribution and now also furniture sector, New Look employees showed that through determined action, even by a minority, a position that was deemed unassailable can be overturned,” said SUD Commerce.
New Look has already closed down all its stores in China and Belgium. A year ago, the group announced it would close down 60 stores and cut 980 jobs in the UK.
Translated by Nicola Mira
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