The financial 'hold-up' threatening France's Yellow Pages workers


The group SoLocal, which owns the well-known Pages Jaunes or Yellow Pages business directory in France, has announced it is to shed a thousand jobs out of a total workforce of 4,400. Executives claim this is part of the necessary move from paper format to online directory. But workers and unions say this is a smokescreen and that most of its directory work has been online for years. Instead they claim they are the victims of a financial plan designed solely to satisfy the group's shareholders. Dan Israel reports.

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Crammed into one of the little basements you reach via the central paved area in Paris's business district La Défense, they observe each other stony faced. On one side of the barriers last Friday, March 9th, were the small shareholders of the SoLocal Group, which owns both the Pages Jaunes ('Yellow Pages') business directory service and the mapping service Mappy. They were hurrying to the group's annual general assembly where, among other things, they were about to approve the executive pay policy.