North Marseille fights to keep key McDonalds open

McDonald's France says the restaurant in Marseille is loss-making (Photo for illustration only)

Residents and employees of north Marseille are fighting to keep a McDonald’s restaurant open after it was announced it would be sold and replaced.

With 77 members of staff, the site has become the second-largest employer in the area over the past 26 years, where unemployment levels are estimated to be at over 40% among young people.

Yet, McDonald’s France says the restaurant is loss-making, having built up a deficit of three million euros in the past 10 years.

The current owner plans to sell the McDonald’s, invest €500,000 in the site, and replace the restaurant with an Asian, halal fast-food operation.

Current employees have reportedly been assured that their jobs will remain, but they deem the investment amount to be too little, too late, and have branded the plan as “thinly-veiled social engineering”.

Of the 77 employees, 65 are on CDI contracts (permanent contracts without an end date), with just 12 on short-term contracts.

Many staff say they have spent most of their working lives at the restaurant, and others have claimed that working at the site offered some a much-needed “second chance” and employment in a deprived and troubled area.

Sébastien Bordas, vice-president of McDonald’s France, issued a statement saying: “The project is concrete and real, including €500,000 of investment…[and] definite guarantees on staff employment.”

The final decision is expected to be made this week, as the case goes before the Marseille High Court tomorrow (September 7).

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