March 24, 2020 / 1:10 PM / 15 days ago

Altice Europe French unit SFR to tap state unemployment scheme -union officials

PARIS, March 24 (Reuters) - Altice Europe’s French division SFR will look to tap a state partial unemployment scheme for up to 60% of its workforce in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, two union officials said on Tuesday.

France has launched a package of crisis measures worth 45 billion euros or 2% of its GDP including payments to companies that keep workers on their payroll even if they are not working.

“There’s obviously a windfall effect, an opportunism. Management is like: why not give it a try?,” CFDT union leader Xavier Courtillat said in phone interview, adding that he was shocked that SFR could ask taxpayers to pay salaries for SFR’s staff.

SFR CEO Grégory Rabuel told staff the company had submitted such a demand to authorities, without elaborating on the proportion of staff to be impacted.

SFR declined to comment but a source close to SFR’s management said that the proportion was between 40% and 50%.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; editing by Jason Neely

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