Government wants to allow food businesses to open until midnight

Will we be able to do our shopping soon after 9 pm in a supermarket? The government wishes in any case to give the possibility to food businesses to employ employees until midnight. A bill on "various social measures" will be proposed to the Council of Ministers on 13 November. First introduced last May in the Pact Act, but retorted by the Constitutional Council, the text will return in the spring to the National Assembly. Goal ? "Legalize something that is already in use in practice," says a source from the Ministry of Labor.

Because today, food businesses are not allowed to use cashiers after 9pm. Except in international tourist areas (that is to say in Paris, in neighborhoods such as the Champs-Élysées for example). "The Labor Code is very clear: night work is exceptional. But there is no economic imperative that keeps stores open until midnight! Says Rachel Saada, a lawyer specializing in employment law.

It is not uncommon to see employees scanning products in the evenings outside these international zones. But these stores, often franchisees, are then illegal.

The CFDT deplores a lack of consultation

Monoprix has already paid the price: the brand had negotiated an agreement with the unions to open until 22 hours. Some staff representatives attacked the agreement and won an appeal in September 2018. A new agreement was found before being attacked again. The decision should be rendered by the district court on 7 November.

The measure presented in fifteen days by the government would therefore allow the signs to have cashiers until midnight. Food businesses would benefit from the derogatory regime specific to the sectors of the press, entertainment or nightclubs where night work begins at midnight against 21 hours today in the rest of the professions.

While lamenting the lack of consultation, Olivier Guivarch, Secretary General of the Federation of Services at the CFDT, "is not opposed in principle" to work beyond 21 hours, "but under certain conditions," he says . "Stores are already doing it, some employees are asking too," he says. We therefore demand regulation with a protective regime and counterparts that are the same as those in force in international tourist areas, "he asks before adding:" This refers mainly to a broader debate on the consumer society that we want. It would be good if we all get to grips with this issue. "

Fears for family life and the health of employees

Conversely, Carole Desiano, Federal Secretary FGTA-FO opposes this measure for fear of "a deterioration of the quality of family life in the name of the economic interests of large groups." "We are already experiencing a very stressful period with a sector in restructuring and in full transformation with this pressure of automatic cash registers. And now we put a layer on it with night work, she says. It is not by extending the time slots that the supermarket will fight against e-commerce. "

It regrets that the bill does not set in stone any amount of compensation or rest, agreements to be found in each company in the absence of a branch agreement. "What will happen in stores where there is little or no union representation? She asks.

The CGT shares the fears. "There is a real risk of destructuring family life, health risks too," says Brigitte Couderc, federal secretary. The retail sector is often a forerunner when it comes to deregulation of labor law. Tomorrow, other sectors will be concerned. "

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