Altice, Publicis to pay bonuses amid protests
Altice SA (ATC.AE) and Publicis SA (PUB.FR) said they will pay some employees in France a bonus of 1,000 euros ($1,139), in response to a speech by French President Emmanuel Macron aimed at defusing social unrest.
Publicis will pay the bonus to employees in France whose gross salary is below EUR2,500 a month, the company said overnight. In total, Publicis will pay about EUR1.6 million in bonuses, a spokeswoman said, with about 1,600 Publicis employees eligible for the bonus.
On Tuesday, Altice said it will pay a "solidarity bonus" to France-based employees in its telecom, media, technical services and customer services divisions. Any conditions for payment will be specified internally, Altice said.
Paris and other French cities have been roiled by antigovernment demonstrations in recent weeks, with protesters opposing a planned fuel tax, low wages and social inequality. The protests have shut businesses, posing a risk to economic growth.
"I’ll ask all employers who can do it to pay a year-end bonus to their employees," President Macron said in a national TV address. He outlined other measures including a boost to the minimum wage and tax reductions for some pensioners.
Both Altice and Publicis said they would pay the bonuses once the law making them tax-exempt is passed.
It isn’t clear whether other companies will follow suit. Orange SA (ORA.FR), however, is likely to do so, will after Chief Executive Stephane Richard said late Monday on Twitter the company will participate in the "solidarity effort."
"It is time to assess our strength and gather good will to move forward, without forgetting the message of the yellow vests!" Mr. Richard said, referring to the vests worn by protestors.
Meanwhile, a spokesman at car maker Peugeot SA (UG.FR) said the company has distributed bonuses to employees in the past, but depending on financial results, it could also discuss an additional bonus in annual union negotiations.
Retailer Carrefour SA (CA.FR) and energy company EDF SA (EDF.FR), two of France’s biggest employers, said it was too early to say whether they would take similar steps.
Publicis itself has been directly hit by demonstrations in Paris, with its large retail store on the Champs-Elysees damaged by protesters.
"During each of the demonstrations held on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees over the last several weeks, the Publicis Drugstore has been the object of severe damage," Chief Executive Arthur Sadoun said. He thanked the company security department and the police, "which spared us from the worst," he said.
Alberto Delclaux contributed to this article.
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