For 1,400 euros after 13 years of service, a Castorama employee goes on hunger strike

He camped in his vehicle for six days: to expose his condition as a ‘poor worker’ and to denounce low wages, nibbled away by inflation. An employee of the Castorama DIY brand has stopped eating and is sleeping in front of his shop, in Lampertheim, near Strasbourg, in the Bas-Rhin.

In his trunk are water, grenadine syrup and a comforter. “I know I can hold on, I’m in good health, I can go far, but I’m not going to put myself in danger either,” said Xavier Gaspard, 34, a paint department salesman and CGT delegate, on Friday in Castorama.

“I want to be able to live on my salary”

Since March 13, the athletic young man in a black hoodie and white sneakers has been taking action to highlight the “increasing uncertainty” he and his colleagues face. “I want to be able to live on my salary,” he explains, leaning on his car, denouncing the “consumption credits” that some of his colleagues have taken out to “fill or fuel their refrigerators.”

With 13 years of seniority and a salary of 1,400 euros net per month, this single father of two has moved back in with his parents since his divorce. “Finding an apartment with my salary is very complicated. The rent is at least 700 euros, I am asked to earn three times as much, that is simply not possible”.

In the store’s parking lot, his signs catch the eye and often earn him the sympathy of customers. ” I completely understand. There are more and more people who are in this case, and I think that’s a shame,” says Marie-Rose, 51, an employee at an electrical component manufacturer. “But it’s true that everything has increased. I buy only what I need, there is no pleasure purchase anymore. »

A salary increase of 37 euros

On his fifth day of hunger strike, Friday, about fifteen of his colleagues left their jobs and posts to come and show their solidarity with him. “Going on a hunger strike goes a long way, but it’s the only way to be heard. It bothers me that we have to come here before the management hears us, ”complains 55-year-old Stéphane, an employee of Castorama for thirty-one years and paid 1,450 euros a month. “Since November, every month I take some of my savings to fill the hole in my bank account. “At the end of February, eight of his colleagues had slept in the store asking for pay raises, “but it didn’t take off,” he regrets. “The chair shows no sign of life”.

When asked, Castorama’s management claims to have carried out a “7.3% revaluation of the salary schedule between March 2022 and March 2023” and a “minimum overall increase of 70 euros”. “We asked how many store employees it actually involved, they didn’t want to tell us,” disputes Xavier Gaspard, who, on the other hand, confirms that the mandatory annual negotiations only resulted in a net increase of 37 euros. “Our group is the European leader in DIY. This year, a dividend of 540 million euros will be paid to shareholders,” he argues. “The gap in the treatment of employees is huge. It has to change”.

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