who Is the tower ? “Soon, there will be no more !” The warning in the “Obs” at the beginning of November by Jean-Louis Alfred, the coordinator CFDT group Vivarte, is likely to find this Monday, January 23, its sad conclusion.
It is today that Patrick Puy, current president and fourth leader of the textile group French (2.2 billion euros of sales turnover, but a debt of 1.4 billion euros) in a little over two years has announced a new restructuring plan. In his moneybag, signage icons such as André, the shoe manufacturer to the origin of the group, but also The Halle aux chaussures, La Halle aux clothing, Naf Naf, Caroll, Minelli, San Marina… The brand Chevignon boots, walking shoes, Kookaï, are already on sale and will be sold in the coming months, a priori to foreign groups. No doubt, for the unions, there will be case sensitive !
Up to 2,000 positions being eliminated ?
“You’ll see, in the 16 and a half years, we will have been to 16 signs 4″, warns Jean-Louis Alfred, coordinator CFDT group.
And to detail the catastrophe :
“They are going to announce a PES [the backup plan of employment, ED.] on the Halle aux shoes, a new PSE on the market clothes in the framework of the merger of the two brands, a PES on Vivarte services [the central functions of the office, ED].
And, after having sold Pataugas, Chevignon, Kookaï, they are going to announce the sale of Andre and Naf – Naf. I believe the job losses as ‘pure’, outside the assignment, between 1.800 and 2.000 people”, is concerned there.
Laurent Berger in the buff
in order To put pressure on the shareholders, and to denounce those they consider of the vulture funds (including the four reference shareholders Oaktree, Alcentra, Babson, and the Golden Tree), the trade unions organized on Monday morning a gathering in front of the headquarters on rue de Flandre (Paris 19th), and rely on the presence of Laurent Berger, secretary general of the CFDT, in order to raise awareness.
on The side of the intersyndicale of Vivarte (CFE/CGC, CFTC, CGT, FO, SUD), this is also the time to mobilization with a rally planned at 8: 30am in front of the seat. And again, there is little hope that the plan presented by Patrick Puy, who had the reputation of going fast in work and to settle in the bright, halftone :
“the agenda of The central works council (CEC) is clear. It is a information on the evolution of the strategy and organization of the group”, explains Karim Cheboub, secretary CGT group Committee. A order of the day declined, to The Halle aux chaussures, La Halle aux clothing , André and Vivarte service (a central structure of the group, which employs 240 employees, mostly executives), which is not without to worry about :
“Vivarte will be dismantled. Patrick Puy has talked about upon his arrival. The only thing that we don’t know is the magnitude of the restructuring.”
For him, a dozen shops, The Halle aux shoes will be sold, in addition to the 132 disposals that are already programmed by Stéphane Maquaire (the ephemeral and the previous president, en route for Switzerland and the group of grands magasins Manor). In all, some 1,500 to 2,000 layoffs would ensue.
A huge mess
regardless of the number of redundancies programmed by Patrick Puy, they will be added to a list already too dense : the last social plan affected some 1,500 employees in April 2015. A huge mess caused by the crisis of the textile in France and error management – the corner top of the range taken by Marc Lelandais in 2012 was a disaster – but especially by the weight of two BUY-out (buy-outs, debt) that has not ceased to plague the group since 2007 and the short-term vision of the fund desiring to quickly recover their initial bet.
today – the only glimmer of hope in the stormy skies – the “G7″ -so nicknamed the seven members of the board of directors – who watches the destinies of about 17,000 employees of Vivarte, may accept to overwrite a part of the group’s debt. The sum of 800 million euros on a debt of 1,400 billion euros is advanced. This would be the second reduction of debt in two years (the first is to put the assets of Marc Lelandais). Will this be enough to restore the air to the former flagship of the French fashion ?
Karim Cheboub (CGT) in doubt :
“there could be a restructuring of the debt to the tune of 800 million euros, but nothing is sure yet. This would be good news but let us beware : nothing is ever free !
And there are fears that it comes with ads, more painful, and that the shareholders raise their conditions : ‘OK, I erase my debt, I lose money but I make it up on something else and I give in to other brands, I have to close stores… This is like in poker, they will want to start on something else. And in the end it is the destruction of employment.”
Just as disillusioned, Jean-Louis Alfred (CFDT) – art once again the cynicism of the fund :
“They can always crush 800 million of the old debt. It’s not worth anything. It is trading at 10 euros. In contrast to the 500 million [of funds injected into the company by 2015 at a time when they were reducing the debt, ED.], those, they don’t overpower, and they continue to produce at a rate of 11% – 12 % interest.”
The trade unionist of the CFDT said today not to expect anything of the shareholders, or even of the government, he considers, as the intersyndicale, impotent on this issue. For him, not bother to present counter-proposals, and try to save the furniture : the damage is done. Remains only to protect the employees who will be tomorrow covered by a plan necessarily painful and point out the responsibilities of each. This Monday will be the moment of truth.