Collective legal action has been launched “to freeze dividends“large companies in order to create an” exceptional solidarity contribution “due to the coronavirus crisis, announced Thursday Maître Christophe Lèguevaques, the lawyer behind the procedure.
According to him, “the government introduces unequal treatment in matters of solidarity”. “While employees are asked to make efforts and many companies, small or medium, are in a worrying situation, most CAC40 groups refuse to give up the distribution of dividends on 2019 results or payment indecent bonuses for traders whose social utility remains to be demonstrated, “he explains to our colleagues at The Obs.
This free collective action is open from Thursday, April 2 at noon to Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at noon, “to citizens, unions, NGOs as well as businesses (VSEs / SMEs), traders, artisans and liberal professions”, specifies Me Christophe Lèguevaques in a press release.
A request before the Council of State will be filed on April 7, “so that it enjoins the government to take the exceptional measures which are essential”, specified the lawyer, who made himself known, with the platform MySmartCab.fr, for its collective actions in the Levothyrox and Linky meters files.
“Exceptional contribution of up to 75% of dividends”
This procedure aims to prohibit “all CAC 40 companies and companies that make more than 150 million euros in turnover (turnover, note) to distribute dividends this year”, according to the lawyer, registered in the bar of Paris and Toulouse. But also to create an “exceptional contribution of up to 75% of dividends (about 37 billion euros) to finance the solidarity fund of VSEs / SMEs, the public hospital and an ecological recovery plan”.
If Me Lèguevaques says he is well aware that this would be a questioning of private property, he recalls that “Article 13 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen states that ‘For the maintenance of the police force, and for administrative expenses, a common contribution is essential: it must be equally distributed among all citizens, because of their faculties’ And article 12 of the preamble to the 1946 constitution stipulates that “The Nation proclaims the solidarity and equality of all French people before the charges which result from national calamities” “.
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire called Monday companies using partial unemployment measures not to pay a dividend, after having forbidden groups from benefiting from a deferral of charges to do so. A dozen organizations, including the CGT unions, FSU, Solidaires and the associations Attac or Greenpeace want their side that the government urges all companies to pay no dividends given the coronavirus crisis.
Several large groups, such as Airbus or the banks Natixis and Société Générale, have already indicated that the 2019 dividends will not be offered. But some such as Publicis or the semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics, have maintained their payment.