El Corte Inglés building in Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona.Carles Ribas
El Corte Inglés is launching to slim down its workforce after the drop in income suffered during the pandemic.
The department store chain will present this Saturday to the unions a plan to reorganize the workforce by which it will offer to leave the signature to 3,000 employees with a permanent contract, as
and company sources confirm to this newspaper.
The decision to leave the company will be totally voluntary, and in no case will any exit be imposed.
If that number is covered, El Corte Inglés will lose 4% of its more than 68,000 workers, the largest adjustment plan in its history.
The company's human resources representatives will present the conditions of the plan to the union sections this Saturday, including CC OO, UGT, FASGA and FETICO.
El Corte Inglés lost 510 million euros in the harshest of restrictions, between March and May of last year, when only its supermarkets came out of the closures unscathed.
Added to that bill is the change in purchasing habits, which has turned to electronic commerce, less in need of extensive templates.
This will translate into a reduction in the size of the company in an attempt by management to match the company's resources to current needs.
The workforce reduction joins other measures taken by El Corte Inglés to adapt to the pandemic.
Digital sales are now the focus to be promoted, and this will mean shifting personnel expenses considered unnecessary due to excess capacity towards new investments: in December this newspaper announced the launch of a new business unit dedicated to logistics with the one that hopes to stand up to Amazon in Spain and take advantage of the pull of electronic commerce.
Setting a maximum threshold for departures at 3,000 people opens the door for their number to be lower.
Everything will depend on the conditions that are offered.
The latest precedent, from 2016, even exceeded the company's plans.
The company then led by Dimas Gimeno accepted a total of 1,340 casualties among its employees over 58 years of age, but the requests exceeded 2,000 thanks to the conditions offered, for which those who took advantage of the plan would continue to receive 70% of the net salary until turning 63.
The relaxation of restrictions due to the pandemic between June and August, corresponding to the second fiscal quarter, allowed El Corte Inglés to register a positive ebitda (result before taxes) of 64 million euros, after this indicator fell in the quarter above to a red number of 225 million.
But this partial recovery of the economy in the second half of last year, and that planned for this year and the next, has proven insufficient to stop the restructuring.
The commerce sector is among the hardest hit by the pandemic, hit by closures, the displacement of internet purchases and the halt in the arrival of tourists, one of the sources of income that has dried up with the interruption of travel and in which El Corte Inglés is especially strong.
The ERTEs have served to alleviate part of that burden —El Corte Inglés presented it for almost 26,000 employees during the first wave—, but in certain cases —such as banking— companies estimate that the structural changes underway make it unnecessary to have the templates of yesteryear, when the face-to-face route did not have such fierce competition as the current one.