39 Flunch restaurants will be closed throughout France, after the collapse in turnover caused by the health crisis of 2020. Other brands run by the Mulliez Family Association suffered the same fate during the year .
The least we can say is that the Mulliez Family Association creams. After Alinéa, then Phildar, sold at the cost of thousands of jobs lost, the retail empire decided to sacrifice 39 of its Flunch restaurants across France to the crisis, out of the 160 non-franchised establishments that exist. Their closure was announced in a letter from the management, which AFP was able to consult.
Lille and Valenciennes restaurants closed
“After studying all possible solutions, including disposal, these restaurants will permanently close and will not reopen by the dismissal notifications which could begin as of August 16, 2021“, writes Guillaume Lecomte, managing director of the shareholder of Flunch. In Hauts-de-France, the restaurants of Lille and Valenciennes are affected by this closure. According to Philippe Delahaye, central union delegate CFE-CGC, “between 800 and 900 employees” are affected by these 39 closures. 18 restaurants are still awaiting an uncertain recovery, the social balance sheet could therefore increase further.
“Restructure on the back of the covid”, a deliberate strategy?
For employees, the pill may be hard to swallow. “The context allows the Mulliez group to restructure on the back of the covid”, already denounced in October 2020 David Malezieux, deputy secretary of the trade section of the federation of employees and executives of Force Ouvrière. The CGT also reported in June that “management remains in its position, namely not wanting to reclassify employees in other entities of the Mulliez group” and judged this process “unprecedented”.
The management justifies its choice of social plan and closures by the collapse of Flunch’s turnover, following the closure of restaurants in 2020. Despite this, it is difficult for the Mulliez family to side with the victims of the crisis . The fortune of the Roubaix patriarch, Gérard Mulliez, 89, is estimated at 26 billion euros. In 2020, despite the health crisis, he “and his family”, as Capital specifies, occupy 6th place in the ranking of the 500 largest fortunes in France. A much envied club, which the Mulliez family has not left since 1998.
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