Then there are the Frenchies. Economy is flat. Growth non-existent. Jobs are desperately needed. So..... what does the government and the unions do? Team up to abolish jobs. The Wall Street Journal reported in September:
PARIS—A Champs Élysées cosmetics store that attracts six million people a year, nearly as many as the Eiffel Tower, has become the new front line in France's battle over working hours.
French luxury-goods giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said Monday that it would fight for the right to continue keeping its flagship Sephora perfume and cosmetics store open late at night, after a Paris appeals court ruled that it must close at 9 p.m.
The appeals court said the chain breached work-time regulations by hosting customers until midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends at its store on the famous Paris avenue.
Under the ruling, the store will be obliged to begin closing its doors earlier within 10 days, Sephora said.
The question of store hours has long been a contentious subject in France, with retailers, particularly in Paris, saying that flexible hours help them tap into business from tourists.
Advocates of more-limited hours argue that allowing employees to work late or on Sundays can hurt the country's social fabric, preventing families from spending time together. (They will have much more time to spend together if they don't have jobs.)
Other stores on the Champs Élysées have stayed open beyond 9 p.m. for a number of years. Recently unions have been filing complaints against retailers for staying open late on the avenue or elsewhere in the city. The union cited grocery store Monoprix as well as Apple Inc. —which isn't on the avenue—and a number of other stores in Paris.
According to a copy of a judgment provided by unions, a court ruled in March that Apple was no longer allowed to open its Paris stores after 9 p.m. Apple declined to comment. Apple's store in the Opera district of Paris lists its closing time as 8 p.m.
Groupe Casino, which owns Monoprix, wasn't immediately able to provide information on the store-hours matter.
Last year, French home-improvement store Bricorama was forced to close its 32 stores on Sundays in the greater Paris region, due to restrictions on Sunday hours.
Sephora said its Champs Élysées store does about 20% of its business after 9 p.m., and 58 members of staff work the late evening shifts. Previously the retailer had said it may have to cut as many as 45 jobs if it were forced to close earlier, a warning that resonates with some as the French government continues to grapple with high unemployment and weak economic growth.
The retailer said it was looking at the fallout of Monday's ruling on its workforce, and had decided to take the matter to a higher court....
Unions opposed to late opening said Monday's ruling vindicated their cause.
"This decision encourages us in our battle," said Eric Scherrer from the CFTC union, part of a group of retail unions that brought the case against Sephora before the courts. "What those companies are doing is illegal," he said.
On Monday night at 10 p.m. local time, hundreds of people were browsing the rows of perfumes and makeup at Sephora's Champs Élysées store. Some with strollers and kids, some exiting with big bags, others just fetching a spray perfume.....
Ahead of Monday's ruling, employees at the Sephora store voiced their discontent at the unions' move to prevent late opening.
"We want to continue working in the evenings," said 177 workers who signed a petition, published as a one-page ad in several newspapers and paid for by Sephora. Article
Here is video of Sephora employees going home in tears after being told they could not work:
The American Spectator had a few things to say about this bout of union insanity in a recent article. By the way, French unemployment is at 11%.