The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has forced French horse racing giant Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) to temporarily reduce work for the vast majority of its staff.
With French horse racing suspended since 17 March, PMU has ceased marketing its products and services at points of sale across France. It is, however, continuing to offer sports betting and poker, as well as betting on international racing, online.
As the company works to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic, as much as 95% of its 1,250 employees are now “partially unemployed” according to managing director Cyril Linette.
“The world is going through an unprecedented crisis,” Linette said. “We must adapt to protect the health of our employees, customers and partners by limiting the spread of the virus.”
The furloughing of employees was carried out in accordance with recommendations from the French Ministry of Labour, and was unanimously supported by staff representatives at an extraordinary meeting of the operator’s Social and Economic Committee.
“I would like to salute the efforts of all PMU teams in recent weeks to deal with this extraordinary situation,” Linette said. “We hope this period of partial activity will be as short as possible.”
He said that PMU’s business had enjoyed a strong upward trend in recent months. The operator would “make every effort to regain this dynamism as soon as possible” in order to protect tens of thousands of jobs in the horse racing sector that are supported by PMU’s funding, he added.
PMU said it was working alongside France Galop, the governing body for flat and steeplechase racing, and harness racing organiser LeTrot on plans to relaunch once the crisis is over.