August 25, 2012 / 2:52 PM / 5 years ago

Carrefour unions see job cuts in France

PARIS (Reuters) - French retailer Carrefour (CARR.PA) could unveil between 500 and 600 job cuts at its various French headquarters next week, unions said on Saturday, as the company's new chief executive seeks to cut costs and turn around the company.

Le Figaro newspaper reported earlier that two further waves of around 500 job cuts could follow next year, although Carrefour hoped to avoid the third.

"Based on what we know, we think between about 500 and 600 job cuts will be announced at the headquarters, or just under 10 percent of staff," Serge Corfa, of the CFDT union, said, confirming a figure reported by Le Figaro.

Force Ouvriere union representative Dejan Terglav said he feared a total of up to 1,000 job cuts overall at the retailer's French headquarters.

A Carrefour spokeswoman said the group had called a meeting with worker representatives for Wednesday, a day before new CEO Georges Plassat is due to present financial results for the first half, but she declined to comment on possible job cuts.

Plassat took over in May with a brief to reverse years of underperformance in Carrefour's European markets and he is also expected to detail his recovery plan on Thursday.

The retail veteran has said he needs three years to turn around Carrefour, whose challenges include halting a fall in market share in France, where it makes 43 percent of sales and cutting debt and weathering a difficult economic climate in Italy and Spain, where it makes just under 20 percent.

According to Terglav, managers at Carrefour have been told not to renew temporary worker contracts, which the union estimates could concern about 400 employees in the various headquarters.

Unions also fear separate job cuts at the group's struggling hypermarkets.

"We fear the job cuts will affect 3,000 to 5,000 employees in total, including headquarters and stores," the CFDT's Corfa said. "We know there will be a second wave concerning the stores fairly quickly."

Reporting by Dominique Rodriguez and Patrick Vignal; Writing by James Regan; Editing by Ron Popeski

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