Euro Disney cuts staff bonuses, but not management's

Posted Monday, December 19, 2005 11:42 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Staff at Euro Disney's troubled theme park east of Paris will go without their Christmas bonuses for the first time since the attraction opened in 1992 in a move branded an "affront" by several unions. Blaming poor results, management has cut the 100 euro (US$120) gross handout to between 7,000 and 7,500 employees.

Read more from AFP via Taipei Times.

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Monday, December 19, 2005 11:53 AM
Hmmmm, we're not doing well enough to give the day-to-day employees their routine bonuses, but don't blame management - they're doing THEIR jobs...

Sound strange to anyone else?

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Monday, December 19, 2005 12:54 PM
"Sound strange to anyone else?"

"Strange" was not be the word that I was thinking of....

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Monday, December 19, 2005 4:16 PM
Doesn't seem strange to me if the management bonuses are tied in with their salaries (however outrageous they may or may not be). Sounds like apples and oranges. It would seem to me that there's more to the story.


*** This post was edited by Gemini 12/19/2005 8:44:12 PM ***

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Monday, December 19, 2005 4:27 PM
At Continental Tire where I work. Manangement tries to cut cost on the backs of the people who actually do the work. We are being threatened with plant closure if we don't give up 35% of our pay and benefits. Not quite the same as what the Euro Disney union members are facing but I do feel their pain.*** This post was edited by john13601 12/19/2005 4:36:43 PM ***
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Monday, December 19, 2005 4:36 PM
Why should Disneyland Paris act differently than just about any other major corporation?
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Monday, December 19, 2005 4:55 PM

The management denies this, saying: "These `bonuses' for managers are part of their salary package."

The park is under performing and decides to cut the "exceptional bonus" to employees in an effort to cost save... They are not able to cut bonuses for managers because it is part of their bargaining agreement!

I guess I'm misreading the article...I do not see anything unreasonable...Maybe it is unfortunate that employees did not get the exceptional bonus this year...but I could just as easily say that they were quite fortunate to EVER get a bonus in years past...especially IF the bonus is not a part of their salary package as it is for the managers...

What am I missing that seems to have some of you all upset? I'm not even sure that this is a story that warranted print anywhere. Why should Disney be required to give the exceptional bonus at all? I'm sure this fine paper has ran stories in years past about the extreme generosity Disney has shown its employees by giving the exceptional bonus EVEN THOUGH the park has been a money loser...

It is a wonder any company EVER gives a bonus! The employees end up taking it for granted, and even worse, they come to expect the bonus as some God-given right! And of course there is the union and sympathetic print press there to pile it on to the EVIL Corporation.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005 2:50 AM
Well we know who got his bonus this year. :)

Let's rewrite Jeffrey's last paragraph, with a change to only one word...
"It is a wonder any company EVER gives a bonus! The EXECUTIVES end up taking it for granted, and even worse, they come to expect the bonus as some God-given right..."

What's bothersome about it? The fact that the park is underperforming and losing money and still paying bonuses to execs with anal-cranial inversions because of some bargaining agreement. It's almost like the NHL where a team could be downright pathetic and still make the playoffs because just about everyone does anyway.

Maybe manager's bonuses should actually be tied to some sort of job or company performance instead of being part of a bargaining agreement. And if the managers don't like it, tell them to hit the road. Or better yet, tell them they could have a job picking up cigarette butts in the park or putting the little cakes in the urinals. Oh yeah, you won't get a bonus there either.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005 11:29 AM
Bear:

The following is not meant to be personal...it more a concept piece on the state of sensationalist journalism and media's ability to shape the opinions of the ill informed! You just stepped on my soapbox...I've no ill will toward you personally and usually agree with your takes! Not this time…


with a change to only one word


I guess I find it a little disheartening and disingenuous when some have to change words and facts in order to fit some preconceived notion… The preconceived notion is that ALL corporations are bad! In this particular case we’ve decided Disney is the EVIL culprit based upon some ridiculous article that should have never been printed! If there was one shred of evidence that Disney did ANYTHING illegal or immoral, then I could understand the outrage and need for the story and the resultant Disney/corporation bashing we've seen in this thread!

If you actually read the story you gain the understanding that Disney has been giving generous bonuses to unskilled labor above and beyond the contract for years! I’ll admit it is hard to differentiate the facts from the sensationalism, as the article is an obvious attempt to stick it to the company (we never see this type of journalism in the states do we?)! Disney's great crime was discontinuing their generosity this year!

I guess I missed the part where the union thanked Disney for their generosity in years past. Or the part where coaster message board guy actually defended the park for going above and beyond its responsibilities for all these years. It certainly did not make it past the edit man for the paper did it?!


Maybe manager's bonuses should actually be tied to some sort of job or company performance instead of being part of a bargaining agreement.


I’ll grant you this point IF we live in Atlantis…it is mighty easy to criticize AFTER the fact for inclusion of bonuses in the agreement! It can be quite difficult to attract qualified managers…let alone good ones! Companies compete for these services and offer bargaining agreements/packages that meet their needs! Unfortunately…there is not near the need for unskilled labor…thus we usually do no see bonuses included in the unskilled agreement! The simple reality is that employees with skills receive better compensation/perks than unskilled labor even in Europe where the trend is clearly socialistic...

Again I ask…Why is the story not framed under the concept of Disney’s great generosity shown in years past when they handed out bonuses they did not have to? If you take the emotion and preconceived notions out of your mindset...the answer is rather simple.

P.S. As an added bonus...life becomes a lot more enjoyable when you realize that all inequities are not the result of some corporate/governmental conspiracy designed to hold down the minions! In fact...we all have the power/abilities to better our lot through participating in the game and sharing in the wealth and generosity these corporations freely export to society. Capitalism and the representative republics do not promise the Antlantisonian concept of equal outcomes...just an opportunity that is there for the taking to those who choose to! There will always be those who choose not to play the game! That is why we have unions and a sympathetic media (and at least one entire coaster board site) to champion their cause!

:-)

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 12/20/2005 11:32:34 AM ***

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005 12:39 PM
I'll go with you on *illegal*, JRS...

Immoral, meh, I have a hard time describing these situations in terms of "moral".

Then again, I'm not afraid OR ashamed to admit that I'm not that far removed from socialism...because "equality of opportunity", in my mind, SHOULD be just that....in reality, it's not.

Plessey v. Ferguson need not apply here...

...and I think we actually have quite a diversity of opinion here...I'm just the one on the far left... :)

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005 4:57 PM
First of all, I'm hardly a socialist or union sympathizer. And I don't see anything in my previous post saying I'm anti-Disney or any corporation. But silly me, somehow my definition of the word bonus was something extra or additional that was earned. I agree with you, Jeffrey, that workers really have no right to expect any business to freely hand out money to them. But I also think that managers and executives should also not have the same expectations. That was my point. Why should managers expect to get generous bonuses when the product or service they provide is inferior and unprofitable?

Most places I've worked have used bonuses as a goodwill gesture, a portion of the profits was distributed among the employees. It was always understood that certain people would get more than others based on their position in the company. It was also understood that the amount of the bonus would vary depending on how successful the business had been that year. Some years I got the equivalent of a 2-week paycheck. If business wasn't so good that year, I'd get a coupon to exchange for a turkey or ham at the local market. But I know I'd be pissed if I were told things were bad, here's a turkey, only to see some higher up with a wad of cash in hand.

So Jeffrey, what was disingenuous about my statement substituting the word executives for employees? You're all bent out of shape that none of the hoi polloi are genuflecting before the Mouse for past generosity. Well I say maybe the managers and other execs should be doing some bootlicking of their own.

Where's the mention of the thanks being heaped on Disney by these execs? After all, aren't they the ones who allowed the park to continually be an underperformer? Aren't they the ones responsible for the financial problems of this park? Aren't they the ones cutting into shareholder profit and reducing the dividend checks of the stockholders? Personally, I think their asses should be canned, not given bonuses.

I think it's a stupid arrangement to have "bonuses" built in to a contract agreement. At least when the NFL gives their overpaid players bonuses, they're based on performance, not written into the contract as a given. Give Peyton Manning bonuses based on all the TDs he's thrown. But don't give one to Joey Harrington for all the INTs he's thrown and say, well QBs are difficult to find at this level.

You talk about qualified managers and how difficult they are to find. Give me the job, I can run a park into the ground as well as anyone, and I'll take half the bonus they get. Putting aside any economic or social discussion-- look at this as a park visitor. What incentive is there for management to improve the park experience for guests? They get a generous salary and bonus no matter what. If attendance and revenue drop by half, do these guys still get bonuses because they're built in to the contracts? How stupid is that? In appreciation for a job well done!

Disney is the one who tosses about terms like "cast member" implying that every employee plays an equal part in the park experience. It's also ironic that it's Disney who puts out its share of films with "socially relevant" messages. It's only fair that both the benefits and setbacks should be shared by all "cast members" equally. No profits, no bonuses for anybody. BTW, nobody ever said the unskilled should get the same amount as the managers either.

Of course, it's Disney's prerogative to enter contracts and distribute its money as it wishes. But they shouldn't be surprised when the "unskilled cast members" aren't quite so enthusiastic next season. It's also the employees prerogative to stay or go. If they stay, well maybe things aren't so bad as this article claims. If enough leave, maybe some of these managers will have to put on the Goofy head.

Funny how my call for fairness is compared to Atlantis-- unrealistic and unattainable. Maybe it is. But I feel that capitalism without conscience is a dangerous thing. I'd say your insistence that capitalism innately provides equal opportunities is equally unrealistic. Nice idea, but it loses something in the execution. Reminds me of another Disney movie-- Pollyanna.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005 12:21 AM
Bear: I’ll try to go point-by-point with obvious editing/arrangement differences to keep it readable! Feel free to repond in kind...good debate going here!

So Jeffrey, what was disingenuous about my statement substituting the word executives for employees?

Your question and the following response are the meat and potatoes of the discussion! They are the ONLY reason for my disagreement and subsequent soapbox rantings…

It is disingenuous for you AND the paper to insinuate that the bonus for the executives and the bonus for unskilled labor are equal. They are NOT! The executive bonus was guaranteed through predetermined contract and the unskilled labor bonus was never guaranteed, and was in fact only present due to the generosity of Disney! Substituting executive for employee was inaccurate…

Whether you agree with the executives bargaining agreement is moot… They made a fair agreement and Disney needs to honor the agreement. To turn around and confuse the issue by substituting executives for employees serves to create an illusion that there are equal bargaining agreements for both entities…this is simply disingenuous…whether purposely done or not!

But I also think that managers and executives should also not have the same expectations. That was my point. Why should managers expect to get generous bonuses when the product or service they provide is inferior and unprofitable?

Because the bargaining agreement they signed guarantees them the bonus! Their compensation was predetermined as an incentive to get them to take the job. Would you feel better if we did not use the term bonus? Just call it salary then…in practice this is all it is!

Again…it appears your argument is that you do not like the bargaining agreement between Disney and their executives. I might agree with you on this (I cannot say for sure as do not know the particular supply/demand economics of hiring amusement park managers), but this is not the issue of the article or the majority respondants to this thread. The article and respondants paint Disney as the bad guy for discontinuing voluntary bonuses to the unskilled while honoring executive contracts as if they are wrong for following commitments…

Most places I've worked have used bonuses as a goodwill gesture, a portion of the profits was distributed among the employees.

Sounds like Disney used to do this for their unskilled labor as a goodwill gesture…this year they do not!

It was always understood that certain people would get more than others based on their position in the company.

In this case the managers get a guaranteed bonus…unskilled labor do not…it is understood…yet unions, thread posters, and media would like to paint it as a grave injustice…

But I know I'd be pissed if I were told things were bad, here's a turkey, only to see some higher up with a wad of cash in hand.

Why would you be pissed if you knew the higher ups had a guaranteed bonus versus your non-guranteed bonus? Again…just think of it as salary instead of a bonus then… Are you pissed at every higher up that makes more money than you?

You're all bent out of shape that none of the hoi polloi are genuflecting before the Mouse for past generosity. Well I say maybe the managers and other execs should be doing some bootlicking of their own.

First let me say...I do not know what hoi polloi means... :-)

Why would you expect anybody to bootlick for receiving only what they were entitled by predetermined bargain? Have you ever went out and praised your employee for handing you a weekly check that is exactly what you bargained for? It is silly for you to insinuate that Disney employees should do the same!

I might agree that they should count their lucky stars for signing such a favorable agreement given their pitiful results...but again...this is off subject! They deserve their fair compensation as agreed in the bargain!

Personally, I think their asses should be canned, not given bonuses.

I may agree with you on this…but it has nothing to do with the article or the picture the article created! Again…you seem to have an issue with executive performance in this case…nothing to do with the article!

Maybe an article or post about Disney's rediculous compensation packages for executives as compared to parallel companies would be more appropriate than the tired "evil company screws the little guy again" article we get from the media/posters on a daily basis...

I think it's a stupid arrangement to have "bonuses" built in to a contract agreement.

See above...

Again…I may agree with you on this…but it has nothing to do with the article or disagreement at hand. In defense of the company…they may have to give bonuses to get qualified people. As to your NFL comparison…ridiculous bonuses are given all the time because this is the price to pay in order to get qualified individuals!

…They get a generous salary and bonus no matter what.

You are arguing hiring practices and the agreement…again we may agree…it has nothing to do with denying people their rightful compensation under an agreement! Everybody should strive for an opportunity to get "no matter what" compensation! It is good for stability!

Funny how my call for fairness is compared to Atlantis-- unrealistic and unattainable. Maybe it is. But I feel that capitalism without conscience is a dangerous thing. I'd say your insistence that capitalism innately provides equal opportunities is equally unrealistic. Nice idea, but it loses something in the execution. Reminds me of another Disney movie-- Pollyanna.

I never said a word about equal opportunities. I said “just an opportunity!” Capitalism combined with the representative republic form of government make efforts to level the “opportunity” playing field, but you are indeed correct in your insinuation that “equal opportunities” are Atlantisonian! This is why I made great efforts to avoid using the word "equal." It is utterly impossible to ever have equal opportunities or equal outcomes…we can only try our best!

What galls me is at the crux of this ridiculous article. Everybody is quick to lambaste the evil company…and what is their solution? Take it from the “rich guys” too. Never mind if screwing the “rich guy” involves breaking contracts. In the name of “fairness” we need to screw the “rich guy” out of his lot since the "little guy" got screwed (never mind for the moment that in this case the little guy really did not get screwed at all)!

…and with this line of thinking the life of the unskilled worker is improved…how?

Maybe a more productive line of thought might be to think…how can these unskilled workers improve their lot so they too are getting the guaranteed bonuses? Why do these unskilled workers settle for less and cast their futures with a union, when there are others (executives/managers, et al) who took an opportunity to improve themselves so they are in the guaranteed bonus camp?

We can argue all day about capitalism versus socialism and the very inequalities associated with each system…I’ve no stomach nor time for it now! Needless to say…I’ll ask anybody to compare the United States relatively under regulated form of capitalism with the regulated forms found in France (and the rest of Europe)…and the socialistic forms of government…and then decide which form of economic control seems to produce the better results?

P.S. What is it that China has been doing to grow their economy again??

P.P.S. I never saw Pollyanna...I must have been in Economics 101 when that came out! :-)

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 12/21/2005 12:27:24 AM ***

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005 11:22 AM
That was long so I'll keep this short. Jeffrey mentioned something about attracting quality mangers with bonuses. 1) Why not simply offer higher wages? Why even call it a bonus? and 2) If I were a company who worried about providing a decent service, I'd want to attract quality personnel for the front lines.

So from a purely business point of view, it's not a good idea to piss off those who make money for you. Those "unskilled" people that keep bodies coming through the doors.

The survival tip is OK. But it reminds me of some joke a heard where the brain and some other organs were arguing about who was most "important" when suddenly the anus locked up and made everyone very unhappy. Sorry I can't remember the specifics. ;)

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005 3:03 PM
I'm with you jan...I never understand why any company practices the art of bonuses...it only leads to the very situation we have with this article. They should stick with salaries so as not to piss off their employees and specifically they should not tier their bonus, practices ( ie…one group guaranteed and the other not)!

BUT (there is always a but with me) :-)...

This does not change the fact that the entire article was a piece of sensationalist journalism designed to make Disney look like the EVIL company screwing over the little guy...which simply was not the case! I grow so tired of the attitude that companies are ALL trying to screw over the little guy!

The "unskilled workers" lives are not affected in ANY way if the executives still gets their bonus! The attitude that one will feel better about themselves if their co-worker/neighbor/etc is just as miserable...seems like such a sad and depressing way to live life!

I guess I'm all for everybody trying to "get theirs" as I'm trying to "get mine!" I don't need some cheap journalist, who is too lazy to fact check, manipulating stories to tell me how unfair life is! Nor do we need coaster board threads lamenting the unfairness of it all based upon said cheap journalist's bogus article!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! I hope you got your bonus...or at the very least...I hope your higher paid co-workers got just as shafted as you! :-) That should make you feel better…

P.S. jan...isn't this the little one's first Christmas...or has time flown by?

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 12/21/2005 3:04:35 PM ***

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Thursday, December 22, 2005 11:22 AM
Sensationalist? Absolutely. Reminds me of Hearst's tactics. And speaking of his tactics, he also paid his employees more than other newspapers in order to attract talent and clobber his competitors. Then again, I guess that's a little easier to do when you have lots of Momma's money.

Now before you go and lament about the unfairness of those of us who are lamenting about the unfairness of it all, keep in mind that you too are lamenting the unfairness of something. Just a different flavor. Those poor upper managers getting attacked like that...they must have been crying in their mimosas as they read that article.

I don't know about feeling better if we all get shafted the same, but you must agree that if a company performs poorly, everyone involved should take the hit. If not, you get a lot of unhappiness. And unhappiness isn't great for productivity.

Anyway, as for bonuses, our company gave us extra time off this year. I think that's a wonderful way to handle this. Especially now that I have a kid. Speaking of whom, not only is this his first Christmas, but he also is getting his first bonus (milk). And I'll be damned if he doesn't appreciate it and comes to expect such things from his benefactors. ;)

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Friday, December 23, 2005 9:10 AM
Jan:

You are misreading me! For me this has nothing to do with fairness. I do not choose to see or live life through the fairness worldview (I do not deny inequities exist…I just optimistically choose to ignore them and focus on opportunities instead)!

This whole thread is about nothing more than a sham article designed to flame the emotions to those prone to pity and fixated on fairness of process (at the expense of life’s golden opportunities). My intentions are to point out the fallacy of the article and the idiocy of those who use articles such as this to promote their class envy. If there is good reason and evidence for unfairness, then I’m all ears! This article is not good reason (not many are these days---Enron comes to mind)…

Until we know the what/whys/hows of hiring practices and job markets…we can only speculate. A decent reporter might have written this story with pertinent details, but that might have taken a little work. Instead we get the typical union unfairness article and counter-response from PR! None of it is enough to form an opinion either way (notice I do not deny the possibility of inequities...only acknowledge that evidence does not exist to form a conclusion)…unless of course one is prone to blindly accepting that the big man is ALWAYS holding the little guy down! What a depressing way to go through life…

I freely admit that I’m trying to better my lot in life. I’m too busy trying to be the man with the guaranteed bonus than to spend time and effort beating him down!

I wish success and happiness to all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

P.S. I honestly have no clue what a mimosa is…but I do need a Mountain Dew this morning! :-)

P.P.S. Great to here about the kido and Christmas! My 20 month old is getting spoiled to death. My parents are in town and on the 26th we’re heading to your neck of the woods (3 days San Diego and 3 days up north) to do the zoo/Sea World/Disney and probably KBF tour! A $185 Citypass(?) seems to get a day at all of them with a 3 day hopper at Disney! This seems like a great deal! The way my son loves animals right now…this should be fun! I’m not sure I’ll get any coasters in…but I’ll have details about the kiddie sections!

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 12/23/2005 9:13:54 AM ***

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