April 20, 2018 / 8:15 PM / 7 months ago

Carrefour, Argentina workers agree to voluntary buyouts: government

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - French retailer Carrefour SA will offer voluntary buyouts to workers in Argentina in an effort to stem three years of losses, but will not lay off any workers, Argentina’s Labor Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The grocery chain filed a “crisis prevention” application with the Ministry on April 6, spurring negotiations between the company, the government, and the Argentine Federation of Commerce and Service Workers union.

A Carrefour spokesman told Reuters the company would pay workers who agreed to leave voluntarily up to 50 percent more than the normal severance costs associated with letting workers go in Argentina. That was in line with the deal a union representative had told Reuters the parties reached last week.

The spokesman did not say how many workers the company expected to accept the proposal. The company employs 19,000 workers in Argentina, where it has been operating since 1982. Argentina represented 4 percent of Carrefour’s global sales in 2017.

In its statement, the ministry said workers who accepted the buyouts would have access to retraining courses and that the company would give additional benefits to pregnant or elderly employees.

Double-digit inflation has made Argentina a challenging environment for supermarkets

Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Luc Cohen; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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