GENNEVILLIERS, France (AP) — Employees at two big home-improvement retailers are putting the screws to France's government to let their stores stay open on Sundays.
The protests at the Castorama and Leroy Merlin chains cut to the heart of an economic conundrum here: many French view labor protections such as reduced opening hours as sacrosanct, but others say they are one reason the economy is flailing.
Some employees led petition drives and wore T-shirts that read "Yes Week End" after a judge ruled last week that 14 Paris-area stores in the chains had violated the law. The stores got waivers or other last-minute exemptions to open this Sunday.
A 1906 French law established Sunday as a mandatory day off — with some exceptions — to help ensure rest and a certain quality of life.