Disneyland Paris Reportedly Pressuring Temporary Employees with Blacklisting in an Attempt to Terminate Contracts
With Disneyland Paris closed “until further notice,” cast members were set to be paid through April 19th, but it seems the company is trying to cut costs by trying to stop paying some cast members sooner.
According to Le Monde‘s Guy Dutheil, resort management has attempted to pressure and threaten temporary workers with blacklisting in an attempt to get them to agree to a mutual contract breach.
These temporary workers comprise the actors, dancers, stunt performers and technical crew that was supposed to be a part of shows running until June, including the Marvel Season of Super Heroes, as well as the Frozen Celebration, Stark Expo, and Mickey and the Magician show, over 350 in total. The Marvel Season of Superheroes has been cancelled as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with no word about the other productions.
Dutheil reports that the resort’s Human Resources department contacted these temporary workers on April 1st via email, asking them to agree to “an amicable break [to their] employment contract.” Citing “exceptional circumstances,” Disney reportedly proposed “the early termination by mutual agreement [of the] employment contract from April 1, 2020.” Adding pressure, these workers had little to no time to consider their options, as the email asked them to “please confirm [their] agreement before April 2, 2020.”
The workers, in solidarity, asked their unions for help. The General Confederation of Labour, one of France’s largest trade unions, “recommended that we refuse this unilateral break,” according to a performer that Dutheil referred to as “Jean.” A majority of the workers agreed, and rejected Disney’s proposal.
Before this, Disney allegedly attempted to threaten workers with blacklisting, as Jean remarked: “Before this email, four days ago, many of us have received calls from the Disneyland Paris casting department to find out if they were willing to break their contract on their own,” adding that they said “If you refuse, you will be blacklisted at Disney!”
This was a complete change in approach from Disney, according to Jean. “Disney had offered to put us in partial unemployment from [April 1st].” This was a policy that was requested at a March 29th meeting of the resort’s Conseil Social et Économique (CSE), or Social and Economic Council, by the resort’s 15,000 cast members. Supported by the French government, the cast members were set to receive 84% of their net salary, with Disney paying the balance, but only through April 19th.
The temporary cast members of the four canceled shows were prepared to accept these partial unemployment measures, even if it would “[reduce their] number of hours,” which is a serious blow to temporary workers. To receive benefits, each artist must work a minimum of “507 hours over a period of one year.”
With a large number of these temporary workers refusing Disney’s offer, management could force the agreement through “without waiting.” There is a possibility that Disney could cite “a case of force majeure,” or a chance occurrence, a legal term which would allow the company “to fire us without our consent,” as Jean noted. By doing that, the temporary workers would receive the full amount they’re owed through the end of their contracts, which expire in June, but Disney could refuse to validate their hours, putting their status as temporary workers and benefits at risk.
In addition, these artists working for Disney would likely lose their homes there, as some are foreigners and provincials living in Paris and “are housed in Disney residences,” as Jean claimed.
Keep reading WDWNT for continuing coverage of this ongoing story. NOTE: The quotes used in this report were translated from French via Google Translate.