For weeks, French gambling establishments have ceased all activity because of the measures taken to fight against the spread of Covid-19. In addition to financial losses, employees fear losing their jobs, particularly within Barrière. The group of hotels and casinos has already dismissed dozens of people in casinos. Following this decision, the Force Ouvrière stepped up to the plate and denounced windfall layoffs.
Dismissals Deemed Illegal
In this period of health crisis, the impacts of the closure are significant with croupiers and other employees on sick leave. Apart from inactivity, they are also afraid of being fired. At the Barrière group, managers are choosing to cut jobs gradually. A strategy that allows them to get rid of certain positions and so far at least 70 layoffs have been made. Referrals often take place in small establishments and at head office with a quota of less than 10 employees. Thanks to this method, employers are not obliged to resort to the job protection plan, underlines Jean-Christophe Tirat, union representative of the group and federal secretary of the Force Ouvrière.
Some casinos have already applied this formula as in Agde, near the Luno pond, 4 dismissals have been confirmed. For trade unionist Jean-Christophe Tirat, the situation should get worse since two major social plans are being prepared in the group’s two casinos, Deauville in Calvados and Enghien-les-Bains in Val-d’Oise. In terms of deficit, the group’s management speaks of 200 million euros of turnover during the 2019-2020 financial year. According to the person concerned, this is an argument justifying the layoffs which mainly take place in casinos and gaming houses, whereas it is the sector which brings in the most. Instead of developing this branch, the group prefers to invest in luxury hotels, which are struggling to be profitable. The FO representative speaks of an unfair maneuver allowing the group to profit from it. Clearly, the casino industry is an advantageous sector, but very expensive in personnel. As a result, we are focusing on the automation of offers aimed at gradually eliminating human labor. According to the delegate, Barrière is laying off employees holding a leading position such as table or party managers to the detriment of the regulations of the game.
Following the first lockdown, casinos began a short recovery at the end of June. When the second wave was announced, casino operators had to stop activities in the fall. Faced with this problem, misunderstanding is settling on the side of employees with managers eager to separate from most of their staff. The trade unionist explains that the ordinances of the President of the Republic authorized companies to resort to this solution when the losses are substantial. For Barrière, the closure is not only the result of Covid-19, but also of an administrative decision. This means that the dismissals are in no way justifiable given this information. The union official talks about windfall layoffs.