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Liberty Meets Fashion: Louis Vuitton Walkout

Emilia J Jastrzebski
Fashion Writer

At what cost does the iconic LV plastered handbags and totes come? As of recently, it is discovered much more than just the dollar tag consumers can see for themselves.

Vogue, October 2005 (Photo courtesy of Richard Burbridge)

Two labor unions, the French Democratic Confederation of Labor, and the General Confederation of Labor, arranged work stoppages on Thursday, February 10. As a result, a walkout took place at four of Louis Vuitton’s 18 facilities in France, with 330 workers taking part. Factory workers are demanding better wages while also protesting against the management’s proposed modifications in working hours that include early and evening shifts that make childcare difficult to organize.

Louis Vuitton issued a statement on Monday highlighting an “advantageous” remuneration strategy that included a recent wage increase of 150 euros per month and a reduction in working hours from 35 to 33 hours per week. “Louis Vuitton intends to calmly continue this dialogue to reach an agreement,” the company stated. The group protesting claims that Louis Vuitton is taking advantage of the anticipated shift change to eliminate the conventional day shift and operate just the morning and evening shifts, which are the only ones available to new hires.

The labor unions contend that the company’s practices do nothing to improve employees’ work-life balance and are solely designed to reduce the amount of money spent on overtime compensation. Mireille Bordet, a CFDT representative stated “The proposal to compute working hours on an annualized basis isn’t convenient for us. It will simply go to the detriment of our private life. Switching from 35 to 33 hours [per week] won’t generate additional working time reductions and will force us to work late in the evenings.”


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