SBM workers strike during Grand Prix weekend

Monaco’s biggest employer, Société des Bains de Mer (SBM), and the government have both condemned a workers strike among SBM cashiers during the Monaco Grand Prix, pointing out that the workers are paid three times that of their French counterparts. 

The Syndicat des Caisses, or Cashiers Union, which affiliated with the Union des Syndicate de Monaco in April, filed the strike notice for Monaco’s busiest, and most lucrative, time of the year. SBM has called the move “particularly inappropriate”, while the government has also condemned the action. 

Responding to the union’s claims that SBM discriminates against women and Monegasque citizens, the company said, “Of course, there is no discrimination against women or nationals. How can we imagine, for example, that a young Monegasque woman starting out in the service could claim the same remuneration as a person who sometimes has up to 35 years of seniority?”

According to SBM, the average monthly salary for a cashier in its establishments is €5,666, plus bonuses and profit sharing. In neighbouring France, the average is €1,700. 

“It is necessary to remember that, since 2019, as part of a vast reorganisation of the sector of cashiers, the overall payroll of the service was reassessed to the tune of more than €1.7 million  per year,” said SBM.

Government voices disapproval

The Prince’s Government has weighed in on the action, saying in a statement, “The allegations of discrimination against women and/or Monegasques within the Société des Bains de Mer was not brought to the attention of Government services. In addition, the average salaries practiced by the Société des Bains de Mer are largely higher than those observed for the same sector of activity in the neighbouring economic region.

“The Government can only regret the habit adopted in recent years by the Union des Syndicats de Monaco to use, to the detriment of consultation, as a means of pressure, major national events, in particular the Grand Prix period, of which everyone knows that it generates major economic spinoffs that benefit employers and employees in many sectors of activity in the Principality. This attitude goes against the interests of the vast majority of employees who invest in daily to make these events a success.”

Union leaders are demanding a “massive” salary revaluation, says SBM, and an increase in profit sharing 

“The additional cost linked to this unreasonable claim has been quantified to between €4 million and €6 million in additional payroll, which today already amounts to more than €9 million, for a workforce of 87 people,” added the company in its statement.

While condemning the action during the busiest time of year for SBM, the company says it invites union leaders back to the negotiation table for discussions over the coming weeks. 

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Photo credit: Cassandra Tanti, Monaco Life