Disneyland Paris closed: it’s not just the employees who are “in trouble”

At the entrances, we only see security guards, sometimes armed. However, they were already visible near the parks, even before the recent wave of attacks in Paris, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines) or Nice (Alpes-Maritimes). For the second time this year, Disneyland Paris closed its gates to visitors on the evening of October 29, due to the containment linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The aisles, sparse since the reopening in mid-July, are again empty. Well almost. A few hundred employees continue to maintain the park and its attractions. Others are teleworking. And finally, the majority are on partial unemployment. Some employees have never even left since March …

“There is a lot of fatalism”

“The climate is very anxiety-provoking and the employees react differently,” says Dorothée Argence, of the CFE-CGC, one of the five representative trade unions in the Euro Disney company. The context is going from bad to worse, so it’s complicated to reassure them, to keep morale up. But we are confident action has been taken ( Editor’s note: working time agreement signed this summer ) by management which does not intend to make any redundancies. “

On the other side of the Atlantic, the parent company, The Walt Disney Company, has already made a decision. Tens of thousands of American park workers have been laid off. “Here, we have partial unemployment which protects us, but until when? Asks Lucas Gheddab for the CFTC.

Chessy, September 21. Security guards, already present before the re-containment, are still present at the park entrances. LP / Alexandre Métivier

Thousands of his colleagues are once again confined to their homes. “There is a lot of fatalism,” he adds. We have an upsurge in requests for conventional termination and management accepts everything. There were 79 between July and the end of October, in addition to a few voluntary departures. Want elsewhere, reconversion … partial unemployment has led some to wonder about the future. When contacted, the management did not wish to respond to our requests.

The crazy rumor of a third confinement on January 4

Management, like unions and employees, however, hopes that the epidemic curve will be reversed in order to reopen during the end of the year holidays. A highlight of the season at Disneyland Paris, after the sacrifice of part of the Halloween period. By communicating on its closure, the amusement park also indicated that in addition to its hope of reopening between December 19 and January 3, it would then remain closed from January 4 to February 12. Enough to give birth to crazy rumors suggesting that Disneyland Paris had an ear at the Elysee Palace and therefore already the dates of the third confinement … Internally, we deny en bloc.

“January is always a calm period. The reopening in February for the school holidays, it makes sense, ”said Lucas Gheddab. “Historically, January and February are low attendance months, it makes sense not to open and work at a loss. The reopening is therefore being done for the February school holidays ”, supports Dorothée Argence.

50,000 to 60,000 direct and indirect jobs affected?

But in addition to the direct employment of the 14,620 employees on CDI at Euro Disney, a whole pool of indirect jobs is affected by this second closure of Disneyland Paris. “In the Val d’Europe, there are also a lot of small businesses that revolve around Disney. There is one direct job for three or four indirect ones, especially for all commercial jobs. We are therefore talking about 50,000 to 60,000 people directly or indirectly concerned, ”calculates Philippe Descrouet (UDI), mayor of Serris and president of Val d’Europe Agglomeration.

Frédéric Desruets, who rents all the medical equipment essential for sick or disabled visitors to stay at Disneyland Paris, no longer has this activity. “We accompanied three children between the two confinements. There was a total shutdown of activity because foreigners could not come to France, he notes. But we have our pharmacy in Bussy-Saint-Georges with my wife so we’re doing well. “

Chessy, November 4.  Disneyland Paris park is dormant.  He hopes to be able to welcome visitors for the end of the year celebrations.  LP / Alexandre Métivier
Chessy, November 4. Disneyland Paris park is dormant. He hopes to be able to welcome visitors for the end of the year celebrations. LP / Alexandre Métivier

“It’s dramatic for the sector because we are not just talking about Disney, which is the locomotive. There are all the subcontractors who are in the same situation, ”confirms Jean-Robert Jacquemard, president of the Seine-et-Marne chamber of commerce and industry.

“It is a big provider of activities. This closure is not good news, of course, believes Patrick Septiers (UDI), the president of the department. It’s worrying, but we can’t help it. When the situation returns to normal, they will reopen. From Christmas if the situation allows it. “

“We are afraid of the snowball effect”

In terms of the impact on the department, Jean-Robert Jacquemard believes that “even if Disney is a special and very important case, Seine-et-Marne is very touristy without the park. There are many other things like Vaux-le-Vicomte, Fontainebleau, Provins … “

This second closure should in any case encourage all the more elected officials to diversify the activity of the sector, as Philippe Descrouet recently suggested in our columns: “These are budgets that are crumbling. Even if we have anticipated everything, reconfining inevitably leads to a loss of revenue, he says. But today, beyond this closure, what worries us is what follows. At the moment, young people cannot find work or training, the self-employed do not receive anything. “

And to conclude: “In the sector, we see the beneficiaries of Restos du Cœur increasing. We are afraid of the snowball effect. Disney is the economic heart of the sector. We are the leading tourist area in Europe but the lack of tourists has a considerable impact ”.

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