French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has vowed to defend staff at debt-ridden supermarket retailer Groupe Casino, amid fears of job losses that could arise from a restructuring at the company.
"The workers of Casino should not have to pay the price for the strategic errors of the company's management. I am by the side of the staff, I met the trade unions and I am there to defend the staff," Le Maire told French parliament.
"Our key concern is the centre at Saint Etienne. That is the engagement I have made, to keep the headquarters at Saint Etienne," added Le Maire.
Casino, which has warned of likely losses for 2023 for its core French business, is racing to finalise a bailout to avoid bankruptcy early next year.
New Leadership Team
A new leadership team formed around Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky is set to take control of Casino, which was brought to the verge of default after years of debt-fuelled acquisitions and losing market share to rivals.
Earlier this week, the French supermarkets group said that the Paris commerce court had extended a protection procedure it had entered into in October to help finalise a deal to restructure its debt by a further two months.
Trade unions fear that Casino could be dismantled if the French hyper and supermarkets are sold, and Sophie Binet, head of the hard-left CGT union, urged Macron's government to intervene.