19 November 2020 by Steve Eminton

Paris court orders union talks on Veolia’s Suez move

A ruling today from France’s Court of Appeal in Paris today (19 November) said that before Veolia can continue in its aim of acquiring rival business Suez, it will have to consult employee representative bodies (largely trade unions). [updated with Suez view below, 2.00pm 19 November]

In response Veolia said it took note of the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal. Veolia noted that Suez had declared to the Court that “the information-consultation procedure of its employee representative bodies began on November 3, 4 and 5, 2020”. It is understood that the representative bodies/unions cannot stop a merger of the businesses but that the matter is unlikely to now proceed for a three month period.

The Court of Appeal in Paris

Accordingly, Veolia said this means that no later than February 5, 2021, “it will recover all its rights” to proceed with its ‘project’ to acquire the Suez business. Earlier this month, Veolia confirmed it intended to acquire Suez (see letsrecycle.com story).

Suez view

But, Suez disputed this statement by Veolia. Suez said contrary to the statement from Veolia, the starting point of the consultation “has not been set” and the date of 5 February mentioned by Veolia is not correct.

Legal duty

Under French legislation, the management of Suez is under a legal duty to organise an information-consultation of its employee representative bodies, explained a statement from Veolia. It said it has provided Suez’s management, “over a month ago now, with all the information and documents necessary for this information-consultation”.

Veolia added that it “remains available to present its project to employee representatives”.

FOR A DETAILED REPORT on the bid by Veolia to acquire Suez and merge the two businesses, see: Suez – Veolia : “Je t’aime moi non plus”

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