The general assembly promised to be tough. At the Docks de Paris, in Aubervilliers, in Seine-Saint-Denis, staff representatives from the Carrefour group were expected this Friday to discuss with management. The Chairman and CEO, Alexandre Bompard, had made the trip. The CGT and the CFDT, just as much. The two majority unions have sharpened their knives and announced the color well before the meeting in a press release: they demand “from now on the reopening of negotiations on wages”.
“We are here to denounce the policy of the company which tends to precarious the employees with the hiring-management”, immediately attacks the CGT delegate of the group Philippe Allard, during the traditional session of questions of the shareholders. In the eyes of the unions, salaried employees in a leased establishment are not treated in the same way. They “lose after fifteen months the benefits and salaries” that other Carrefour employees receive, assures Philippe Allard, during the interview.
The consequence of this inequality? With inflation, wages paid since May 1 would be lower than the national minimum wage. An element that Alexandre Bompard denies: “Not at all half of Carrefour employees are under the hourly minimum wage, it would be contrary to the law and to the history built by the Carrefour group”, retorts. he.
The unions fear, however, the amplification of a treatment that they consider different between the employees of the headquarters and those employed by a store manager under lease management. This episode reminds us that the French retail giant is quietly parting with some of its least profitable hypermarkets. The prospect worries the unions. Not enough to scare Alexandre Bompard, however. “When the customer comes to the store, he does not know if he is a franchisee or not”, he underlines before refusing to “consider that there would be on the one hand Carrefour and the people who are part of its social workforce, and on the other, employees who would not participate in the Carrefour adventure”.
The sidekick of Philippe Allard, the delegate of the CFDT, Sylvain Macé, does not seem convinced. The one who is also secretary of an Association for the representation of Carrefour shareholders and employees (ARASC) is demanding a salary increase. “We have discussions scheduled for September,” retorts Alexandre Bompard. The boss of the group then insists on the fact that the mandatory annual negotiations, concluded at the end of February, had given birth to a minimum salary increase of 2.6% (1.3% on February 1 and 1.3% on July 1) per employee and even 2.8% for the vast majority with more than four months of seniority in hypermarkets, or “about 60% of the French workforce” of the group. The agreement had been concluded with all the intermediate bodies (FO, CFDT and CFE-CGC). The CEO was also not the target of criticism only of the unions since he was also scolded by the shareholders.
It is the remuneration of the CEO of Carrefour which has aroused strong protest. Alexandre Bompard receives a fixed salary of 1.5 million euros, unchanged since his arrival at the head of the group in 2017. To this is added an annual variable part, which can reach up to 2.85 million euros, under performance conditions. A so-called long-term compensation was also mentioned and can climb to 4 million euros.
The note was rejected by 41% of voting shareholders, a historically high score for a Carrefour manager. If the CEO will receive the salary presented at the general meeting, such opposition is surprising. Especially since Carrefour closed the year 2021 with a sharp increase in net profit, to 1.07 billion euros, and sales also growing. The position of the shareholders could be read more as a posture of appeasement in the face of the social demands that cross the company rather than as an affront to the policy pursued by Alexandre Bompard.