Castorama admits ‘clumsy’ to ask French to train Poles

Castorama has around 100 stores in France, but is planning to make over 400 staff redundant this year

Home DIY and garden company Castorama has been forced to backtrack after admitting it was “clumsy” to ask soon-to-be-made-redundant French staff to train their Polish replacements.

A spokesperson for British parent company Kingfisher admitted the “clumsiness” of the incident this week, after it emerged that French staff, who knew they were due to be made redundant and replaced, were asked to train their Polish successors to do their jobs.

The move was condemned as “cynical” by Jean-Paul Gathier, delegate representative for workers’ union Force Ouvrière, FO.

He added: “It is even worse, because management even told [the French workers] that they were ‘counting on them’ to be ‘professional ‘to the end’. They were shocked. Castorama has now had to retreat due to our reaction.”

After admitting its error, Castorama confirmed that its new Polish employees will continue to receive training in French accounting, but no current French employees will be required to help.

A statement from Olivier Lurson, director of human resources at Kingfisher, said in a press release to the Agence France-Presse: “We have taken into account employees’ feelings. No staff members affected by the job losses will be in charge of this training.”

The group is set to make 409 French administrative staff members redundant this year.

Many of the jobs are expected to be replaced with workers in Poland.

The change in staff is not a total surprise for the company, whose French HQ is in Templemars (Nord).

Late last year, Kingfisher - which also runs Brico Dépôt, and the brands Screwfix and B&Q in the UK - announced it was moving many of its operations to the eastern European country, in a bid to cut costs and “restore its competitiveness”.

As well as just over 100 Castorama stores in France, the company also has 20 stores in Russia, and 50 in Poland.

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