France: ‘Black Vests’ protest for undocumented workers’ rights in Paris

A group of protesters calling themselves the ‘Black Vests’ gathered at the Stade Charlety in southern Paris, in front of one of the headquarters of commercial catering and foodservice multinational Elior Compagnie on Monday, demanding they recognise undocumented migrant employees’ rights and assist them in obtaining documentation.

Footage show some 200 protesters at the stadium, and a small group of them entering the building.

“Elior must know that we have exposed them, that they cannot deny that they’re exploiting people without pay,” said an undocumented migrant who claims he has not been paid since December despite working at the company. “We also want them to admit that they have been making migrants work in the cells of other migrants with the government’s complicity.”

Valerie, a member of ‘La Chappelle Debout!’ a group of activists fighting for undocumented migrants rights, says, “The Black Vests are a movement of people who are usually on their own against their employers, on their own against the administration.”

“We’re here to hold Elior accountable and tell the company, it’s your responsibility to go to the administration; it’s your responsibility to demand a one-stop-shop and get documentation for what you kindly call your ‘collaborators,'” she added.

The activists demanded that the multinational recognise the status of 20 of its undocumented workers, claiming it has gathered information on some 200 workers and will be delivering the remaining 180 files in the near future. They have also demanded to meet with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, accused of impeding the recognition of undocumented workers.


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