The soap opera continues at the Hyper U store in Exincourt. Director Karim Soufari and four managers (editor’s note: out of the dozen in the hypermarket) are being fired by their boss Jérôme Bourgeat and invited to an interview before they are fired next week. Karim Soufari was about to be released last May. The news had moved much of the workforce who had gone on strike, as well as four managers who had considered resigning. A solidarity that had made it possible for the director to be reinstated.
The four managers went on strike
Today it is the same striking managers who are about to be fired with the director. Both the clients concerned and the trade unions are convinced of this: for them it is “no coincidence”.
“It calmed down for 15 days, then he jumped on our backs,” says one of them. All denounce a form of harassment that began “after the strike”. “When they don’t want anyone anymore, they get picky and take pictures of everything that’s wrong to prove our mistakes.”
Jérôme Bourgeat: “Serious mistakes were made”
A version disputed by Jérôme Bourgeat, for whom there is “no link” between the strike and the redundancies: “Serious mistakes were made, some of which could be attributed to the public prosecutor. There are cases of harassment. We mustn’t listen to these people,” comments the boss. He didn’t want to say more about the reasons for the layoffs, as the interviews would take place next week. He conjures up “people who want to protect themselves by lighting return fire”.
“There’s nothing there, he’s building a whole scenario,” replies a trade unionist, his attacks are targeted.”
“We tried a conventional break,” reveals one of the managers. “But he said no, he felt cheated, his aim is to punish,” adds a trade unionist.
“I’m 26 years old in mass distribution, I have no layoffs, no deals with the Prud’hommes,” starts the dismissed director Karim Soufari, who was supposed to join forces with Jérôme Bourgeat in the affair upon his arrival.
The U-System unit has sounded the alarm
The five layoffs also claim they didn’t count their hours to rebuild the store after a “complicated” start, evoking “20 days in a row in December during the holidays” or “80-hour weeks”. “But we don’t regret it, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves during this time,” reveals one of the managers. These efforts seem to have partially paid off: “It was a disaster in the beginning, but since 2021 the economic situation has gradually improved,” says Karim Soufari.
The news did not trigger a strike this time. “The employees are not calm,” comment the unions, who say they have drawn the attention of “the central system U” to the situation.
A heavy context for two years
These pre-dismissal talks are part of a particular context at Hyper U. The union (CGT, CFDT, FO) has for several months denounced pressure or even harassment of employees who are being pressured to leave. Especially against the “casino”. As a reminder, the boss Jérôme Bourgeat, already boss of the Super U in Audincourt, bought the Géant Casino hypermarket two years ago to continue it under the Hyper U brand – a significant investment of six million euros. She then takes over almost all employees (almost 130). Small detail, the unions explain that the casino collective agreement is more advantageous than at U. The unions denounced an undermining work against the “casino”, which was confirmed to us on condition of anonymity by about fifteen people who are still in office or went . With, in key, distributions of warnings. This sometimes led to layoffs, departures or sick leave. Currently, the “casino” would number 45 among the store’s hundred employees. “We are not the lucky hatches of warning,” Jérôme Bourgeat defended. And to induce “culture shock” and “resistance to change” in the face of new methods.