If French Rich Can Give Millions To Notre Dame, They Can't Ignore Other Issues - Union
If the wealthiest people in France can afford to give hundreds of millions to restore Notre Dame cathedral in Paris after a fire, they should not say they have no money for "social emergencies," Secretary General of CGT trade union Philippe Martinez said Wednesday
The fire in the landmark cathedral began on Monday evening and was put out only the next day. Most of the wooden roof was destroyed and the spire collapsed. Donors have so far pledged $1 billion Euros (1.1 billion) for the restoration, with the richest French families leading the way. Billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering luxury group, has pledged to donate together with his father as much as 100 million euros. LVMH and its CEO Bernard Arnault pledged 200 million euros, matched by L'Oreal and Bettencourt Meyers family.
The union's head remarked that large donations highlighted the inequality in the country.
"In one click, 200 millions, 100 millions ... This also shows the inequalities in this country and I would like to know the position of the employees from the companies led by these CEOs to whom they say 'You cost too much'," Martinez told the outlet.
Meanwhile, Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux, the president of the employer federation MEDEF, told BFMTV broadcaster that he had launched an appeal for companies and employers to help rebuild he cathedral.
Donations are tax deductible in France, and businesses can claim 60 percent of the donation sum. However, Pinault has already issued a statement stressing he would not claim a deduction.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in an address to the nation on Tuesday that the Notre Dame cathedral would hopefully be rebuilt within five years.