Strike threatens seafood sales in France


Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
December 13, 2009

 As French truckers threaten to block supermarket distribution depots this weekend, players in the country's seafood sector fear for their valuable Christmas sales.
"For this sector, sales in December represent between 20 and 50 percent of their annual sales, and for certain firms, annual turnover hinges on only two weeks in the year," said industry association Adepale in a statement this week.
Adepale, which represents 210 food firms with a collective annual turnover of EUR 10 billion (USD 14.6 billion), has called on the French government to monitor negotiations in order to avert strike activity.
"If the conflict fails to be resolved before 13 December, dozens of companies and their suppliers will see their businesses — already impacted by a difficult year — strongly compromised," added the association.
Union representatives of some 500,000 lorry drivers met with management and the government last week to carve out a solution to their demands: The unions are calling for a minimum 4 percent raise in drivers' salaries, while management has put a 2 percent raise on the table.
If they fail to reach an agreement, looking increasingly uncertain this week, the unions' drivers plan to stop work from 13 December, aiming to block access to supermarket depots. A move certain to disrupt supplies and that could lead to empty shelves in the run up to Christmas.
On Thursday, French Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau proposed to partially exempt road haulers from a new carbon tax in 2010 as part of negotiations over wages, but talks with the five unions at the table that represent the truckers are still ongoing.

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