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Wed 18 Dec 2013 01:30 PM

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Alwaleed's Disneyland Paris in groundbreaking worker deal

Famous theme park agrees to hire youth and seniors to help French unemployment problem amid working condition concerns

Alwaleed's Disneyland Paris in groundbreaking worker deal
Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris, 10 percent-owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, has become the first major business to sign a groundbreaking agreement to hire youths and seniors to help combat France’s growing unemployment problem.

Young people under 26 and those older than 50 are finding it tough to get a job amid tightened economic conditions.

The theme park has committed to offering full-time, open-ended work contracts to 600 people aged under 26 years by September 30, 2016.

It also will hire 75 employees at least 50 years old, making them account for 10 percent of the company’s total workforce.

The agreement also outlines measures to protect older employees’ professional growth, as well as the possibility to reduce their working hours to 80 percent.

Younger employees also will be able to combine work and study.

The park also has committed to hosting 1000 interns each year, half of whom will be paid.

“It’s a fact that today’s youngsters find it increasingly difficult to get a foot on the career ladder, while seniors find it more difficult to stay there,” human resources vice president Daniel Dreux said.

“It’s essential that we make a formal commitment in this area because ever since Disneyland Paris opened we’ve been dedicated to professional integration for the young and the young-at-heart, regardless of their backgrounds and professional qualifications.”

The agreement follows mounting concern over the theme park’s work conditions including a “sharp increase in disciplinary sanctions” and a lack of dialogue from management, as revealed by the National Union of Autonomous Trade Unions in October.

The union’s outcry came after an employee threw petrol over his head and threatened to set himself alight.

There have been two suicides among Disneyland Paris staff in recent years, according to the Daily Mail.

The theme park, which is 38.9 percent owned by the Walt Disney Company, was rescued from bankruptcy in 1994 when Prince Alwaleed injected $350m into its parent company Euro Disney.

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