The soap opera continues at the Hyper U store in Exincourt. The director Karim Soufari as well as four managers (Editor’s note: out of the dozen in the hypermarket) are laid off by their boss Jérôme Bourgeat, and summoned for an interview prior to dismissal next week. Last May, Karim Soufari was already on the verge of being fired. The news had moved a large part of the staff, who had gone on strike, as well as four managers who had put their resignation in the balance. A solidarity that had made it possible to have the director reinstated.
All four managers were on strike
Today, it is the same striking managers who are about to be fired with the director. The principals concerned, such as the unions, are convinced of this: for them, it is “no coincidence”.
“It calmed down for 15 days, and then he got on our backs,” says one of them. All denounce a form of harassment, which would have started “after the strike”. “When they don’t want someone anymore, they get picky and photograph everything that’s wrong to prove our faults.”
Jérôme Bourgeat: “There are serious faults committed”
A version disputed by Jérôme Bourgeat, for whom there is “no link” between the strike and the layoffs: “There are serious faults committed, some of which could go back to the prosecutor. There are cases of harassment. We must not listen to these people, ”comments the boss. He did not wish to say more about the causes of the dismissals, since the interviews will take place next week. He evokes “people who want to protect themselves by lighting counterfires”.
“There is nothing, he is setting up a whole scenario”, replies a trade unionist, his attacks are targeted”.
“We tried a conventional break,” confides one of the managers. “But he said no, he felt betrayed, his goal is to punish,” adds a trade unionist.
“I am 26 years old in mass distribution, I have no layoffs, no business with the prud’hommes”, launches the laid off director Karim Soufari, who was to, on his arrival, join forces with Jérôme Bourgeat in the ‘affair.
The U System plant alerted
The five laid off also claim not to have counted their hours to rebuild the store, after a “complicated” start, and to evoke “20 days in a row in December during the holidays”, or “80-hour weeks” . “But we don’t regret it, we learned a lot about ourselves during this period,” confides one of the managers. These efforts seem to have, in part, paid off: “At first, it was a disaster, but the economic situation has gradually improved since 2021,” says Karim Soufari.
The news this time did not trigger a strike. “The employees are not quiet”, comment the unions, who say they have “alert the central System U” of the situation.
A heavy context for two years
These interviews prior to dismissal are part of a particular context, at Hyper U. The inter-union (CGT, CFDT, FO) has been denouncing for several months pressure or even harassment of employees pushed towards the exit. Especially against the “Casino”. As a reminder, the boss Jérôme Bourgeat, already boss of the Super U of Audincourt, bought the Géant Casino hypermarket two years ago, to pass it under the Hyper U brand. A significant investment of six million euros. It then takes over almost all of the employees (nearly 130). Small detail, the Casino collective agreement was, explain the unions, more advantageous than at U. The unions denounced an undermining work against the “Casino”, which was confirmed to us on condition of anonymity by about fifteen people, still in post or gone. With, in the key, distributions of warnings. Which sometimes led to layoffs, departures, or sick leave. At present, the “Casino” would be 45 in number among the store’s hundred employees. “We are not the Lucky Lukes of the warning”, defended Jérôme Bourgeat. And to evoke a “culture shock” and a “resistance to change” in the face of new methods.
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