In the latest bakery battle, the bakery union the Federation of Bakery Enterprises (FEB) is fighting in court against laws that require bread sellers to take a break one day a week.
All bread sellers, including traditional bakeries, artisan bakeries and even supermarket bread departments must comply, unless they have obtained an exemption from local authorities. The rules date back to 1919, with executive orders now updating the law in 1994 and 2000.
But bakers have long fought against the rules, with the FEB being the latest group to oppose it.
Magali Filhue, general delegate of the FEB – which includes the brands Paul, Feuillette and La Mie Câline, as well as several manufacturers of specialized breads – told BFMTV that the current laws were “obsolete”
She said: “Let’s give entrepreneurs the freedom to do business.
“The bakery is a dynamic industry in which entrepreneurship is growing. It must be given the means to evolve and adapt to customer demands. Take the example of home delivery; some time ago bakeries barely did. This changed with the health crisis.
Even before the pandemic, some bakers were fighting to change the rules; a baker in the Aube was fined € 3,000 in March 2018, after having opened seven days a week the previous summer.
the same year, two bakers from Calvados (Normandy) were brought before their local courts, accused of illegally selling bread through their bakery seven days a week.
The seven-day sales “weaken artisan bakeries”
But not all bakery unions agree.
The National Confederation of French Bakery and Pastry (CNBPF), which represents artisan bakers, said the weekly closure ensures an “economic balance” between professionals in the sector.
CNBPF President Dominique Anract said: “The artisan who bakes bread does not have the same resources as a store which just thaws.
Mr Anract said he did not want artisan bakeries to lose business to supermarkets in case they were allowed to open the extra day because small businesses would not be able to do the same, even if the practice was. authorized.
He said: “Working seven days a week makes working conditions more difficult anyway. We have less time to do accounts, or to spend time with family. We are putting a stop to young people who would like to open their own bakery.
“Every year around 1,000 bakeries close and 1,200 open, but those that close are usually in villages, and those that open are usually chains in big cities. We are weakening artisan bakeries [by demanding uninterrupted opening]. »
Currently, around thirty departments in France are asking for the lifting of the seven-day sales ban.
Around ten local court decisions are expected in the coming months.
French bakers accused of working too much
Franchised bakeries in France are fighting to open 7/7