E-commerce: the great social loss of Macron’s quinquennium

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At the end of a five-year period marked by government support for the expansion of online sales, France’s biggest social plan is likely to get even worse. Explanation.

In November 2020, Kavala Capital Company revealed the scale of job losses provoked right there online sales in the non-food trade in France 1. Despite these warnings, the number of Amazon warehouses, the main player in online sales in France, continued to increase. From 4 Amazon warehouses in 2017, France has grown to 44 today and 14 additional warehouses are planned.

Online sales boom : a the social collapse gets worse

Friends of the Earth adopted the method developed by Florence Mouradian and Ano Kuhanathan 2 to update the assessment of job destruction caused by the expansion of online sales with the latest available statistics for the year 2019 3.

The study reveals that the development of e-commerce has destroyed 3 800 additional jobs in trade in 2019. In total, between 2009 and 2019, The development ofand online sales destroyed 85,000 jobs in France (on net balance). This is the largest social plan currently underway in France.

Small businesses are still the first victims of commerce digitization with 7,600 jobs destroyed in 1 year. For every job created at a company with 50 or more employees via e-commerce, nearly 2 were destroyed at smaller companies in 2019.

All branches of non-food commerce were negatively impacted by the increase in online consumption by households. Clothing sales is the branch most affected with more than 4,800 jobs destroyed.

Employees of big brands in the hot seat

A worrying new fact: jobs at large retailers are starting to be impacted. The balance of jobs created for large companies was divided by 9 in relation to previous years and approaches a negative balance.

Étienne Coubard

“Until now, the digitization of large physical retail brands generated jobs, because the new online activity added to the existing activity in the store and did not replace it. »

Étienne Coubard

Mobilization officer at Friends of the Earth France

“Now that their online business is developed, these brands are closing their stores and laying off their employees. to face competition from the big players in online sales” continues Etienne Coubard.

An even more worrying trend because, in the absence of data for 2020 and 2021, the study echoes a situation before the health crisis. However, since 2020, bankruptcies of major brands such as complacenthave, Naf Naf, André, the Market, Camaieu, celium, Orchestra, cotton counter, Gap = Go, Spring caused many stores to close. 3870 employeesandThousands of clothing sales were dropped in 2020 4 and thousands more in 2021 5. Despite a thriving business, H&M and index (Zara) are also closing dozens of stores in the country.

Colossal and yet unseen job losses are also expected in the food trade, which so far has been relatively spared. With the arrival of dark stores and online grocery stores, online sales are gaining ground in this sector, which is essentially more important, and can considerably worsen the social disintegration that we observe in non-food commerce 6.

A mandate at the service of e-commerce

Although the year 2021 was marked byr of multiples opportunities for theto France to curb the takeover of online sales multinationals, the Elysée and most La République en Marche followed a policy against current of thishead necessity.

In January 2021, the finance law halved local taxes on e-commerce warehouses 7. A few months later, in the Climate and Resilience law, the government exempted e-commerce warehouses from the moratorium on artificialization. While all political groups in the National Assembly demanded a moratorium on the artificialization of warehouses, La République en Marche used its majority to defeat amendments signed by more than 200 deputies 8. A decision with serious environmental and economic consequences. E-commerce, already responsible for VAT fraud of 5 billion a year, will continue to evade trade taxes and may continue to concrete fields to build warehouses larger than France’s biggest shopping malls.

Étienne Coubard

“Given the employment impacts of e-commerce, Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term has resulted in incomprehensible choices. Tax freebies, administrative and political support allowed for massive and rapid implementation. However, the numbers are there: e-commerce is destroying jobs at breakneck speed. »

Étienne Coubard

Mobilization officer at Friends of the Earth France

“During this election period, E.manual Macron and Valert Pécresse demonstrated his position in favor of the development of the main online sales platforms, contrary to his speech in favor of employment. he continues.

This disregard for employment in commerce must be read in the context of the Government’s general economic policy. While the number of jobs has increased slightly over the five-year period, the payroll, ie all wages paid, has not increased. This is explained by the fact that the Government favors uberization, short contracts and temporary work. Most of the self-entrepreneurs who work for platforms do not pay a minimum wage. In the midst of a purchasing power crisis, in addition to destroying jobs, online sales create precarious jobs below the poverty line.

Across France, where e-commerce warehouse projects are developing, resistance is organized and continues. The mobilizations will take place on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th of March in different regions affected by these destructive projects for employment and the climate to report the impacts suffered in their territory.

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