Credit…Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

December 27

Cashier-less Checkout Causes Worker Backlash In France

There was outrage throughout France as the country was caught up in a debate over the recent introduction of a self-checkout point at the Gèant Casino de la Roseraie which permanently replaced staff.

The self-checkout became fully effective on Wednesday, 25 December 2019.

It was a typical Sunday shopping-day with customers queued up after picking out their groceries and ready to make their payments at the till. Only, it was rather peculiar that on this day all the cashiers were gone. What on earth was happening?

Some customers were thrilled by the fact that they were going to self-checkout, however, those that fully analyzed the situation were startled as to why Gèant Casino de la Roseraie would make such a decision.

It turned out the Gèant Casino de la Roseraie had found a loophole in the system, as French Labour laws state that no employee should work beyond 1 p.m. on Sundays.

The regulations didn’t state that stores needed to be closed after 13h00. Therefore the organization decided on introducing automated self-checkout machines in their store to avoid having to close early for the day.

Some workers fear that their jobs are now at stake, which is why dozens gathered around the Casino supermarket in protest of the decision made by the organization. They were seen waving flags, blocking entry and speaking through megaphones in protest of this new decision.

While the casino’s latest workaround did not technically break any labor laws, it drew widespread criticism from local officials, trade unions and some Yellow Vest protesters.

Karin Engel, deputy mayor overseeing commerce in Angers, told France 24 she found the move by the chain store actions to be “fairly dishonest.”

Trade unionists fear that this move could lead to workers being redundant and automated machines taking over.