Store to pay union €750k for opening after 9pm

Retail unions in France have struck another blow against late night shopping after a court ordered supermarket giant Monoprix to hand over €750,000 because it breached rules on making workers stay on after 9pm.

Store to pay union €750k for opening after 9pm
Monoprix will have to pay €750,000 to the CGT union for opening after 9pm. Photo: AFP

Breaking the rules around staff working after 9pm has cost French supermarket Monoprix dear.

The country’s leading trade union CGT took Monoprix to court for failing to respect a 2013 court decision that effectively barred the company from opening after 9pm.

Monoprix were supposed to enter into negotiations with trade unions to draw up a new agreement over working hours and conditions.

If an agreement was not forthcoming the company would be liable to a fine of €5,000 per infringement if it opened after 9pm.

But that didn't seem to bother the supermarket giant and this week a court of appeal decided to punish Monoprix for its “resistance” by setting a formal fine.

For not sticking to the rules  the court settled on a final penalty of €750, 000, a third of which will have to be paid up front.

Monoprix must also hand over €10,000 a day for any time it commits an offence by keeping a store open after 9pm in future.

The fine is just the latest incident in a battle between stores in France and trade unions over late night working hours.

Employee unions in France have in recent years intensified their legal efforts to protect the ban on nocturnal working hours, targeting major retail chains

In recent years retail giants such as Sephora and Apple have been stung by French courts for keeping their stores open after 9pm.

Eric Sherrer from the CLIC-P trade union that represents shopworkers has told The Local that he does not want to see Paris turn into New York, with shops open all night.

“France is already the most visited country in the world. Tourists come here for the culture not just for the commerce,” he said.

The law about opening late in France is there because we think it is necessary. It's not a case of having important rules and less important rules, a law is a law and it needs to be respected.

I don’t care if you can go to the Apple store or Sephora store in New York at any time of the night. If they respect the laws there, good for them, but this is France.”

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France’s favourite supermarket revealed

With their wide range of fresh fruit and veg and extensive cheese and charcuterie selections, French supermarkets are popular with visitors - but which chain do the French themselves prefer?

France's favourite supermarket revealed

E. Leclerc is the nation’s favourite supermarket, according to the study conducted by OpinionWay for Bonial, published on Tuesday.

Of around 5,000 people surveyed, 23 percent listed Leclerc as the place where they do the majority of their shopping. Carrefour came second, favoured by 21 percent of people, followed by Intermarché (12 percent).

German discount retailer Lidl came in fourth with 9 percent, although 45 percent of French people had done some of their shopping in Lidl over the past year.

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Grand Frais, the supermarket which many of our readers recommended in 2018, is where only 1 percent of people in France do most of their shopping.

Organic stores may be gaining in popularity in France, but the results of the survey show that they are a long way from becoming mass-market. The most popular was Bicoop, which 9 percent of people said they had visited over a twelve-month period, followed by Naturalia and Bio c’ Bon (3 percent each).

When it comes to food shopping, there are also significant regional variations. The map below shows the leading supermarket in each of France’s 13 metropolitan regions.

Graphic: Bonial.

While Leclerc and Carrefour dominate 11 of the 13 regions between them, Système U is over-represented in the Pays de la Loire, where 34 percent of people do most of their shopping in the chain, compared to only 8 percent at a national level.

Leclerc meanwhile is the preferred chain of just 13 percent of people in the Paris region, where many people use smaller city centre stores rather than the large hyper-marchés.

Respondents also ranked Leclerc first for its range of products and special offers, while Lidl came out on top when it comes to price.