Economy The State will push the companies in which it...

The State will push the companies in which it is a shareholder not to pay dividends, says Pénicaud

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THE STATE WILL GROW THE COMPANIES IN WHICH IT IS A SHAREHOLDER NOT TO PAY DIVIDENDS, SAYS PÉNICAUD

PARIS (Reuters) – The French government will ask companies in which it is a shareholder not to pay dividends out of “solidarity” in these times of the coronavirus epidemic, Labor Minister Muriel Pénicaud announced Friday.

“I understand the approach of the CFDT and with Bruno Le Maire (editor’s note, the Minister of the Economy), we think that, for starters, for companies where the state is a shareholder, even a minority, we will ask them not to not pay dividends in any case to individuals, to individuals, “she said on CNews in response to a question about the union confederation’s request to suspend the payment of dividends this year.

“I believe that in this context, everyone must show that sharing value is also solidarity and therefore this is the approach that we are going to push,” she added.

The State notably has stakes in ADP, Airbus, Air France-KLM, EDF, Engie, Eramet, FDJ, Orange, Renault, Safran and Thales.

The president of Engie, Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, declared that the group needed a little time before deciding on this subject.

“The questions raised around the dividend are good questions. Let us give the board of directors time to absorb all the information coming from the group and to take the decision in this area which we think will be the wisest,” he said. declared on BFM Business.

The absence of a dividend would deprive the State of significant revenue. For Engie, in which it holds a 23.6% stake, the abandonment of the dividend would thus represent a shortfall of some 461 million euros for Bercy.

Muriel Pénicaud also indicated that the use of partial unemployment had increased in France.

As of Thursday, the minister said, some 150,000 businesses and 1.6 million workers were already partially unemployed, 50% more than Wednesday.

“What we want is that during this health crisis, there will be no layoffs,” she said, adding that it was also a question of “preserving skills” with a view to ‘resumption of activity.

“This is why we put in place an extremely protective system of short-time working, much more protective than before, the most protective in Europe,” she said.

“WE ARE NOT NATIVE”, ANSWERS PHILIPPE MARTINEZ

Asked about the orders adopted this week by the government raising the maximum legal working time limit, she refuted the idea that it was a “deregulation of the labor code” and explained that the objective was to allow companies in critical sectors to cope with a shortage of manpower and an increase in activity in the coming weeks.

“If in the coming weeks, you have to work more, obviously paying more, I think you have to be able to do it,” she continued, citing agriculture, the agrifood industry or even companies that make protective masks or hydro-alcoholic gel.

As for the question of leave, she said: “There is not a single day off, or RTT or CET (time savings account) that will be deleted.” On the other hand, the conditions under which an employer can ask his employees to ask for days are modified “but on condition, for paid holidays, of an agreement with the unions and the employees”.

The secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, whose headquarters filed a strike notice in the public service for the month of April, highlighted the health problems that would arise from working up to 60 hours per day. week and called for defining essential activities to prevent these derogations from being diverted from their objective.

“We are not naive, a certain number of business leaders will consider their essential activity and that we can have derogations until the end of the year”, he said on RFI-France 24.

(Henri-Pierre André and Marine Pennetier, edited by Jean-Michel Bélot)

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