Cashiers: towards the end of cashiers?


"It kills the job!", Rebels Evelyne (the names have been changed), 30 years of cash at Carrefour in Paris. "And then it's not human, you say hello, you, the robot?"

In front of her, Jeanine, 80, approves vigorously. "They have completely redone the shop and sometimes we have only open boxes, you have to go fast, fast, but they think about us, old people?"
On her back, a young woman's ear screwed to the mobile phone resolutely takes the direction of the automatic boxes, passes two melons to the scanner and pays without even hanging up.
"It has become commonplace, half of the stores are equipped with automatic boxes," says Daniel Ducrocq, a specialist in distribution at Nielsen. The firm estimates that 10% of the turnover of supermarkets passes through automatic cash registers.
They are found massively in local supermarkets where the urban customer seeks "troubleshooting" at any time.
Because the automatic boxes can open cheaply evening or night, or to bypass the law prohibiting supermarkets to employ employees on Sunday after 13h.
Last Sunday, in Angers, some 200 protesters protested against the opening in the afternoon of a Casino hypermarket equipped only with automatic cash registers. A first for a hyper, but a practice established "without difficulty" in 82 supermarkets Casino, the group.
"The automation of the collection systems irreversibly leads to a decrease in the number of cashiers", observes Jean Pastor, central CGT delegate of Casino. "We are not arrears, we know very well that there is an evolution, but the question is what do we want for work for tomorrow?"
"If it is done by machines, I have no problem, there are repetitive trades, but the productivity gained can be used for the collective good, ie the part-time cashier goes to work. full time and can do something else in the business. "
What about "the human"?
Moreover "the wages carry a lot of benefits, of social security, family allowances …" he recalls.
The President of the Chamber of Crafts and Crafts, Bernard Stalter, evokes him a "peril for our social model" and calls for "a robot tax".
Over the past decade, the number of cashiers has declined by 5 to 10%, with 150,000 full-time equivalent jobs today, according to the Federation of Commerce and Distribution (FCD).
In question, automation, but also the crisis of hypermarkets. "It's the circuit that is worse, and the one that employs the most cashiers", observes Daniel Ducrocq.
Studies in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom estimate that 10 to 30% of jobs should be concerned by digital development, notes the FCD.
However, "such a development is not inevitable" provided that employees are "trained in new services that consumers will expect," says the federation.

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