- At the call of the Umih and the GNI, traders and independents gathered this Monday under the windows of the Ministry of Labor.
- Restaurateurs, hoteliers, catering staff in events… All are asking for additional aid.
- For night professionals, it is a dialogue with the authorities that is required.
“Let us work !! “From the giant screen to banners and t-shirts, the slogan is displayed everywhere this Monday on the Esplanade des Invalides in Paris (7th arrondissement). Coming from all over France at the call of the Union of Trades and Hospitality Industries (Umih) and the National Group of Independents (GNI), traders and independents are gathered under the windows of the Ministry of Labor. And in an autumn rain that did not discourage them.
Restaurant owners leading the way
At first glance, the atmosphere is good-natured: loud music, food trucks and reunion laughs. But the anger of the demonstrators is palpable once in the crowd. The signs speak of “massacres”, destruction, hanging … “The terms are strong, but it is because we are really in agony”, explains Julie, a non-unionized restaurateur.
There are many restaurateurs. With the coffee makers, they have been at the center of discussions since the start of the coronavirus crisis. Yvon, owner of a brewery in Hauts-de-France, would have preferred not to have to talk about his corporation: “The government, with its announcements, leaves the idea that we could get by with the help and take-out. But if that limits the damage in some, the majority of us die slowly ”. Yvon, like his colleagues, asks for more. And it is Denis Allegrini, president of Umih in the Gard, who sums up the needs: “We want the means to make businesses sustainable. A real support plan, not aid but compensation. We come to the end of the EMP [Prêts garantis par l’Etat] and our treasuries are running out of steam. However, they will have to be repaid and many are unable to do so. The union official wishes to have more visibility on the stages to come. Knowing that the date of January 20 mentioned by Emmanuel Macron, he does not really believe it.
The event feels forgotten
Behind the restaurateurs and hoteliers, other sectors, present this Monday, are also suffering. This is the case for members of the Organization of Catering Staff in Events (OPRE). These workers, who until 2014 benefited from intermittent catering status, are now considered to be active unemployed. Masters of hotels, chambermaids, divers, they have not been able to work since March 1. “As we are not entitled to partial unemployment, many of us find ourselves in great precariousness,” says Nicolas, spokesperson for the OPRE. Some have to sell their homes, others fall into depression. “For these” extras “, the difficulties could last a long time, according to Nicolas:” We will not be affected by the reopening of restaurants on January 20. For us, it will not be before April ”. To prevent the “disaster” from continuing, the OPRE asks that the status of intermittent be restored and that a blank year, as for intermittent entertainment, be granted.
The intermittents of the spectacle, moreover, are also there, in front of the ministry. Margaux, “sound engineer”, asks for a second blank year: “Looking at the evolution of the epidemic, the shows are not going to restart anytime soon. For the moment, we are surviving, but if it stops, we will sink straight ”. Others cannot even count on government aid. This is the case of Joël, stand-alone autoentrepreneur: “There hasn’t been a show since March. So no more euro coming in. And since I am independent, I am not entitled to any help. I feed my family with money loaned from friends. But it will not be able to last… ”
“Will there be any companies and workers left? “
Johanna is a manager in a security company. On a permanent contract and benefiting from partial unemployment, she came to defend her team, most of whose members are temporary workers: “Our sector is particularly damaged. Some companies have had losses of 70 to 100% since the first containment ”. Many of these workers are forced to look to other areas, which worries Johanna even more: “With the big events to come, the Rugby World Cup in 2023, the Olympic Games in 2024, we will need security. But will there be companies and workers left? “
Workers, Matthieu Le Brun, owner of the Milton Club nightclub in Saint-Lô, and spokesperson for the Normandy and Brittany nightclubs, could also lose a certain number. Closed for nine months, it considers its sector as the “great forgotten” of the crisis. Aware of the health risks, he does not ask to reopen immediately, but would like discussions to be started: “We would at least like to discuss. Work with doctors, ministers, to see how we could open (…) We are not responsible for the first wave, nor for the second… We were closed before the peaks. And yet, we are pointed out as the ugly contaminators ”.
His anger relates in particular to an American study which would have served to justify the closure of restaurants, bars and therefore nightclubs: “No study has been carried out in France. And now we see underground parties that overtake the police force. Not to mention the little parties that everyone has with their friends every Saturday… ”Hence his wish: a life-size test, supervised by nightclub professionals. From the start of 2021.