The social plan is approaching for Virgin. In the absence of a global recovery project, the management of Virgin Megastore and the elected staff began Friday to examine the future job protection plan (PSE) during an extraordinary works council. Of the five offers received, the sign, which still employs 960 employees in its 26 stores, will only preserve in the best case 285 people and 11 points of sale. And none of these offers proposes to take over the expensive flagship of the Champs-Elysées and its 184 employees.
Patrick Zelnik, founder of the Megastores at the end of the 80s and current boss of the Naïve record and publishing company, continues to say “more than ever” interested in taking over all the stores but has still not submitted an offer. He has until May 23 to do so. The commercial court will decide two weeks later among the takeover projects. But the management and the unions no longer believe at all that Zelnik is able to come to the aid of France’s second-largest distributor of cultural products, in particular with its “cultural souk” project on the Champs-Elysées. “He may have know-how but not a circle, explains, annoyed, a union representative. Or it takes a lot of money to take over Virgin and so it’s dead.”
Both unions and management are fighting to limit damage. The first by obtaining “correct” starting conditions, at least equivalent to those of the last PSE during the closure, in 2012, of the stores in Toulouse and Metz. Butler, the main shareholder with 74% of the capital, seems ready to go beyond its legal obligations, but only if Lagardère (20% of the capital) also contributes to this PSE to match its participation. But Lagardère does not want to hear about it. The unions intend to go to his headquarters to remind him of his responsibilities.
Together with the government, the management is approaching other retail brands likely to take over certain stores so that they rehire “red vests” as a priority. But probably more to sell records, DVDs and books. For Virgin, the end clap should fall by the summer.