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article imageParis 'wee-wee ladies' lose right to urgent hearing on dismissal

By AFP     Sep 29, 2015 in World

A Paris tribunal on Tuesday rejected an urgent appeal from six toilet attendants known as "wee-wee ladies" who say they were unfairly fired by managers transforming their workplaces into trendy "boutique restrooms".

A group of 11 public toilet attendants, known in French as "dames pipi", have been protesting through the summer over their dismissal from a number of tourist hotspots including Montmartre, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe.

They were laid off in July when Dutch company 2theloo took over the toilets from a French firm.

2theloo specialises in creating high-end public toilets that combine restrooms with a store that sells everything from bags to cuddly toys.

French law says cleaners must be kept on by new employers, but 2theloo argues it is creating an entirely different service and is not bound by the rules.

"At 2theloo we believe that going to the toilet in public places... should be an extraordinary experience," it says on its website.

The Industrial Tribunal ruled on Tuesday that it would not allow an urgent hearing for six of the cleaners who have lodged complaints, but their cases will still be heard at a date that has yet to be fixed.

Decisions on the remaining cases will be taken next month.

"This decision backs the position we have taken from the start," said 2theloo's lawyer, Paul Coeffard.

A lawyer for the wee-wee ladies, Fiodor Rilov, said he would appeal the ruling.

Speaking in August, one of the cleaners, Fiokouna, described her dismissal to AFP, saying: "We were flabbergasted, it's as if we didn't exist anymore. I can't sleep, I have three children and rent to pay."

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