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L’Oréal Workers Protest Over Wages

At L’Oréal’s factory in Lassigny, France, employees demonstrated Wednesday calling for a 3.2 percent pay raise.

PARIS — Numerous employees at L’Oréal’s factory in Lassigny, France, demonstrated Wednesday over demands for a wage increase.

Information varied widely about how many workers were involved in the strike at the facility that manufactures Yves Saint Laurent fragrances and makeup for other brands in the French beauty giant’s luxury division. Manuel Blanco, a representative of France’s Confédération Générale du Travail labor union, estimated approximately 80 percent of the 800 employees took part. A L’Oréal spokeswoman, meanwhile, said the amount was less than 20 percent.

Strikers called for a 3.2 percent pay raise for all of the factory’s workers, said Blanco.

L’Oréal, however, had offered something different. The company granted for 2010 a 1.2 percent “general increase” for the staff, which on average received a 3.6 percent salary hike, according to the L’Oréal spokeswoman.

Since taking over the Lassigny factory in July 2008, L’Oréal has “significantly improved” numerous employee benefits, including prolonging maternity leave by a month, the company stated.

L’Oréal had met with the factory’s personnel representatives on March 8 and discussed possibly increasing supplementary profit sharing for 2009. Another gathering to negotiate profit sharing was scheduled for March 29, the company stated.