“We were given the ointment, we believed in it”, recognizes Laura Bonucci, seamstress for 33 years in the establishment. “But we are going to fight,” she warns on Tuesday in front of the lowered iron curtain.
Last Thursday, the management of the Lido, taken over from Sodexo by the hotel giant Accor, surprised everyone by announcing its desire to transform the cabaret into a “musical performance hall” in the near future.
The tradition of the feathered revue, the permanent troupe and the dinner-show in this myth of Parisian nights created in 1946 by the Clérico family are thus preparing to fall by the wayside and the descendants of the “Bluebell girls”, these dancers dressed feathers with endless legs that have made the place famous, are asked to get dressed.
The transformation project is accompanied by a job protection plan targeting 157 out of 184 jobs.
“It’s brutal, we did not expect it at all”, is moved Nicole Hoffmann. In her blue blouse, this woman has been washing dancers’ costumes for 17 years.
“Accor had promised us mountains and wonders”, enrages Dorian Spiess. Entered as a simple trainee, the young man who wears a black T-shirt branded “Lido” is now assistant costume manager.
“We thought they were going to create something in the cabaret style. We are helpless. They have made their decisions, we don’t know yet who it will fall on. It’s heavy and heavy”, he continues after being photographed in front of the entrance with his colleagues, like a tourist on vacation or more likely the last memory before turning the page.
Currently, the Lido employs 40 artists, 15 dressers, four seamstresses, 73 people in the dining room, eight for administration, nine technicians and ten machinists, lists Ludovic Hervéou, CGT union representative.
– The curtain will fall on August 12 –
“Eventually, only 27 people will stay and there will be 12 job creations,” he continues. “There will remain eight machinists and three technicians for maintenance, four seamstresses, as many dressers and accounts. Everything else will be outsourced”.
No one knows, however, what sauce it will be eaten.
“There are hallway noises but we don’t know who will stay”, regrets Laura the seamstress.
On Thursday, staff representatives have another meeting with management to refine the project, go into detail about the positions retained and eliminated.
“We are entering into negotiations, the objective now is to save as many jobs as possible,” said Mr. Hervéou. “The management wants to go quickly, too quickly,” he regrets, announcing that the end of the procedure is scheduled for August 12.
United behind the scenes according to the elected official, the trade unionists of FO, CGT and CFDT are not giving up and intend to take the fight to financial ground despite a financial situation presented as bad and aggravated by the Covid-19. Thursday, the management had thus specified that the accumulated losses amounted to “80 million euros over the last decade”.
“The Moulin Rouge puts on two shows a night, six days a week and it works,” says Mr. Hervéou astonished. “We are open three days a week, with only one show each time. The buyer left us no chance even though he had said at the general meeting that the DNA would be kept”.
Incidentally, he also regrets that Sébastien Bazin, the boss of Accor, has never bothered to meet the employees of the Lido.
The CGT ensures that Sodexo received 700,000 euros in public aid under Covid for the Lido.
“There is no question that a penny of public money will be used to finance the PES”, warns Ghislain Gauthier (CGT Spectacles). “We are going to question Ms. Borne, as well as the next Ministers of Labor and Culture”.