empty shelves in Virgin Megastore at the Champs-Elysées in Paris
Marx's work in economics laid the basis for the current understanding of labor and its relation to capital. Over 150 years ago Carly Marx pointed out "Human beings are the producers and consumers - money is only a medium of exchange". Human resource management is a factor, which Capitalist Economic Planners must take into consideration, to improve Economic planning. So how does this work in todays "socialist" France?
This example is easy to understand because it is a modern industry. It is about the Virgin Megastore at 52-60 avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris. The buildings owner was the French insurer "Groupama" who sold the 2 000 m² luxury building 2012 to Qatar's cash-rich Gulf sovereign wealth fund. Yes, you're right, Qatar, this is the sheikdom that is funding rag-tag freedom-fighter-terrorists & al Quaida in Libya, Syria and elsewhere. They don't know a thing about what Carly Marx tried to make us understand.
In 2001 a French financial group bought the Virgin Megastore from Richard Branson who realized that Internet will bring down the traditional music business. In December 2007 Butler Capital Partners announced their intention to mount a majority takeover of the French arm of Virgin from Lagardère. This deal was finalized in February 2008.According to the Lagardère 2007 report, 80% of the Virgin stores was to be sold by Lagardère Services at a value of €76.4 million, and 20% would be kept. Prior to this sale 51% of VirginMega, France's number 2 music download website, was transferred to the Virgin Stores company (sold to Butler), and the remaining 49% was kept by Lagardère. Then in January 2013, Virgin Megastore France filed for bankruptcy. You simply do not need a shop at the Champs-Elysée to sell downloads on Internet.
However all the 180 Employees never ever played a role in this casino business-style. Instead to demand a say, the employees were inspired to demand such a abstruse thing like bringing "culture" to the Champs-Elysees. Well French people are romantic and generous, so for them its not perfectly clear that it is easier to win retirees in rual France for "culture" rather the Chinese tourists on the Champs-Elysées.
"No closure, yes culture," th poor employees where chanting. 80% of staff were on strike, occupied the entire mega store. Of course the call to action was launched by all the unions (CFTC, CFE-CGC, CGT, FO and SUD). On December 19, the Owners of Virgin Megastore, Butler Capital Partners, presented a draft of the termination of the lease of the building at the Champs-Elysees store because the new Qatari owners demanded 2 millioon €uro per year. These new owners, "investors", from sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, "bought the building to do something, we do not know what," and at the EC "it was understood that the store would close, but no one knows nothing about the employees, nothing about the social aspect, "said a FO delegate.
"If shareholders are smart and know how to turn employees, there are things to do, to modernize"a CGT delegate said. If he would have come forward With ideas it could have help. But t generate 2 millions lease is not a peanut. So the employees occupied the building and left as good citizens they are the decision to the court. And the court said now they have to move out after it became official: the Virgin stores are now in liquidation. This announcement came from the Commercial Court of Paris.
This did not come as a surprise to employees of Virgin after the Commercial Court of Paris had already rejected two takeover bids on June 10. According to French law employees have the right to satisfy their claims out of the assets of their employers. Now they are unemployed. This investment Qatar style which brings us back to the per-revolutionary period of feudal France. So the former employees will eat cake instead baguette.
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