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Workers goad Gaumont

New co. topper Malone known as cost-cutter

PARIS — Employees of cinema group Gaumont, concerned for their jobs, are threatening legal action against EuroPalaces, a company that will unite Gaumont and Pathe theaters into Europe’s biggest exhibitor.

“The 200 (employees) are very worried about their futures,” Gaumont union rep Nadia Kladi told Daily Variety on Wednesday.

Jerome Seydoux’s Pathe will own 64% of EuroPalaces, while brother Nicolas Seydoux’s ailing Gaumont will have 36% under the merger, announced in December.

The director of the new company, Pathe veep Eduardo Malone, has a reputation for cost-cutting that Gaumont employees fear. They have refused to submit a reply to management that is a legal necessity if the merger is to continue, saying they don’t have enough information about the new company.

Not satisfied

“Nicolas Seydoux thinks the talks are over and he no longer wishes to discuss EuroPalaces,” Kladi added. “But we know very little. All we know is that the theaters will be decentralized.”

The merger “is an opportunity for our employees,” according to Nicolas Seydoux, denying plans for staff cuts.

When he pledged to go ahead with the merger April 12, Gaumont’s unionists vowed to lodge a formal complaint in court. This action further overshadows the new company that has already been ordered by a competition court to get rid of theaters in Nantes, Lens and Saint-Etienne.

With the recent U.S. flop of “Just Visiting,” Gaumont’s most expensive film ever, union action is the last thing the company needs.

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