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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why the French are Fighting Over Work Hours

Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from

It’s telling that in France, where several stores are fighting an order requiring them to close on Sundays, retail employees showed up at work last month wearing T-shirts that read, “YES WEEK END.” It was a play on Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, and a symbol of the fact that some in France—where shops have been barred from opening on Sundays, with some exceptions, since 1906—have lately been eyeing a more American approach to work.

In September, a French tribunal de commerce said that two big home-improvement stores, Castorama and Leroy Merlin, would face daily fines of a hundred and twenty thousand euros per store (about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars) if they continue to operate on Sunday. The retailers have said they will open despite the fines, the result of a lawsuit. People in France like to work on home improvement on Sundays, which makes it one of the busiest days for do-it-yourself stores, accounting for between fifteen and twenty per cent of their sales.

 Closing on Sunday could jeopardize the jobs of some twelve hundred employees, according to the Fédération des Magasins de Bricolage, which translates, roughly, as the Federation of Do-It-Yourself Stores.
“I really don
’t understand,” said one customer, quoted in the Catholic daily La Croix. “If everyone has agreed to work, why can’t you open the store?”
For an American coming from the world of 24/7...

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