The iconic 'La Samaritaine' department store in Paris was forced to shut its doors on a key pre-Christmas shopping day
Paris (AFP) - Dozens of trade union members and disgruntled employees protested Thursday at the ultra-luxury La Samaritaine shopping store in the heart of Paris, causing managers to shut its doors.
Owned by the French LVMH luxury giant, La Samaritaine re-opened in June last year after a 750-million-euro (800-million-dollar) facelift and renovation carried out over 16 years.
“La Samaritaine is a symbolic place representing wealth. A lot of employees here cannot allow themselves to buy what they sell,” Amar Lagha, from the hard-left CGT union, told AFP.
Around 200-300 protesters were involved, including union members and employees, the CGT claimed.
Wearing red vests with the union’s emblem, they could be seen standing among the displays of luxury handbags, make up and clothing even after management shut the store in the morning.
“Almost all of the demonstrators were not employees of la Samaritaine,” the store’s management said in a statement. “For security reasons, clients and personnel were evacuated.”
France has been hit by a series of strikes in different sectors of the economy as employees push for pay hikes in the face of annual inflation of around 6.0 percent.
Many train managers and ticket inspectors on the national railways have announced a stoppage over the Christmas weekend starting Friday, leading to two in five long-distance trains being cancelled.
Travellers and the government have reacted with fury to the train strike, which has been organised informally without union backing.