“We can no longer pay and we are threatened with a blackout”, complained an angry baker
In distress, bakers left their stoves for a day to pound the Parisian pavements this Monday afternoon. The main reason for this unprecedented mobilization: the explosion in electricity bills. “Since December, our electricity bill has gone up from 2,500 euros to 14,000 euros,” testified Joëlle, 56, a baker of 39 years. “We asked the bank for an overdraft authorization, without it, we cannot continue to work”, explained the man who employs 11 employees at a bakery in Avon, in Seine-et-Marne.
For the occasion, Joëlle dressed up as a sandwich lady with a sign reading “don’t touch [sa] baguette “. Not far away, in the procession that started from the Place de la Nation, joining the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Bercy, we found Isabelle whose electricity bill multiplied by 7 within two months. . “We could not pay and we were threatened with cut the power,” she worries. The owner of a bakery in Ollainville in Essonne, she worries: “if it is closed, village life will take a hit”. And only thanks to the anxiolytics, Isabelle manages to maintain this impossible situation.
In a procession between the trumpets and the mist trumpets, we parade to the sound of “bakers, in danger” or even “Olivia, your calculations are not good”, in reference to Olivia Grégoire, Minister for SMEs, Commerce and Crafts. In addition, the latest government announcements have not been conclusive as Isabelle still feels she is “not being heard” while Joëlle calls for an extension of the “tariff shield for all”.
Breton lottery and flag
As in any pride parade, there is clearly the Breton flag, which was hoisted this Monday by Alan who works in a bakery near Brest. He was sent with six colleagues by his boss to demonstrate in Paris. “Energy bills have been multiplied by 4-5,” he explained. We are forced to use cash, to reduce premiums. If the government doesn’t do anything, it will go up. Without bread there is nothing and the French Revolution started because there was no bread. »
Sébastien, a fifteen-year-old baker, also rises early to take the train to Paris from Vienne, where he runs his business. “I’ve put the price down to the end of the year so for now I’m a bit spared but it’s a lottery,” he said. And that’s scary for the future because with energy bills multiplied by 4, the bakery isn’t going to last very long. »
Bill multiplied by 25!
This Monday, not only bakers are parading. So Ulrich is a restaurateur in Essonne and he fights the cold to express his despair. “My electricity bill multiplied by 25 in one month. I was at 700 euros in November and I went to 17,500 euros in December, he was worried. In January, I almost reached 16,000 euros when I closed for nine days! He opposed the levy but ensured that at such a cost – “about 40% of turnover” – he could not “continue with his activities”.
Arriving in front of the Bercy fortress, which was defended by numerous police forces, the procession chose to stage a sit-in rather than attack the ministry. It remains to be seen whether the angry bakers will be heard from, while the national bakers’ confederation is unwilling to join the movement, reassured by the latest government announcement. One of the protesters regretted their small numbers, a few thousand at most. Nevertheless, they will be able to count on the ineffable Jean Lassalle, champion of terroir, who arrives hatted on the arrival of the event, attracting a throng of troupes (we are hardly exaggerating), but fewer journalists, who nevertheless attend in numbers. A sign that the fate of the baguette, which was recently registered as an intangible cultural heritage by Unesco, has become a national issue.