PARIS Jan 7 Two French labour unions said they
had filed a legal complaint against luxury Parisian department
store Printemps over its late-night opening hours, following
similar successful complaints against retailers including Apple
Unions, trying to defend the 35-hour working week, are
pitted against some retailers and even some employees who want
to increase business at a time when unemployment is at a 16-year
high of over 10 percent and economic growth is stagnant.
The CFDT and CGT unions, together with Printemps' works
council, said in a statement on Tuesday that the store's
late-night closing time of 10 p.m. on Thursdays is against the
law and that it is not allowed to have staff working past 9 p.m.
According to French law, stores can open after 9 p.m. only
in exceptional cases - either of economic necessity or for the
benefit of society - or once an agreement with staff is signed.
The complaint follows several court rulings last year
against retailers such as Apple Store and LVMH
cosmetics chain Sephora, which had been keeping their doors open
well beyond 9 p.m.
A hearing is due on Jan. 23 at the Paris High Court, where
the unions will ask that Printemps be blocked from late-night
trading, the statement said.
Printemps declined to comment. The department store, which
has for several years adopted a more upscale strategy to compete
with nearby Galeries Lafayette, was bought by Qatari investors
In an interview in September with newspaper Journal du
Dimanche, French Junior Minister for Trade Sylvia Pinel said the
government was not prepared to change the law but that
flexibility was possible via talks between employees and
(Reporting by Lionel Laurent and Pascale Denis; Editing by