April 11, 2018 / 2:51 PM / 3 months ago

Carrefour, Argentina workers agree to voluntary buyouts - union

BUENOS AIRES, April 11 (Reuters) - French retailer Carrefour reached a deal for voluntary buyouts with workers in Argentina as part of a crisis prevention plan that aims to end three years of losses, a union representative said on Wednesday.

Angel Martínez, spokesman for the Argentine Federation of Commerce and Service Workers (FAECYS), said workers would agree to voluntary buyouts at a meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. (1700 GMT) but did not say how many workers had accepted a buyout.

“If we had not done these negotiations, Carrefour would have left Argentina,” Martinez said in a phone interview.

He said the company had agreed to pay 50 percent more than the normal cost of letting workers go in Argentina. Local newspaper Ambito Financiero reported 1,000 employers had accepted the deal, citing an anonymous source.

Carrefour representatives in Argentina declined to comment when asked about the deal. A government spokesman confirmed the meeting was scheduled with the company and labor ministry.

Carrefour, which has previously denied plans to exit Argentina, said last week it had filed a “crisis prevention” application with Argentina’s labor ministry.

Argentina represented 4 percent of Carrefour’s global sales in 2017 at $3.5 billion euros. The company started operating in Argentina in 1982 and employs 19,000 workers.

Double-digit inflation has made Argentina a challenging environment for supermarkets. Business friendly President Mauricio Macri told Spanish newspaper ABC over the weekend his government was working to crack down on informal, Chinese-run grocery stores he accused of not paying taxes and undercutting formal businesses. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Maximilian Heath; Additional reporting by Dominique Vidalon in Paris; Writing by Caroline Stauffer)

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