The French cosmetics giant said it would assure salary raises at least in line with inflation for all of its employees earning under €50,000, according to press reports. The statement follows a strike held earlier this week when approximately 5 per cent of the workforce stopped work in protest against the company's failure to introduce across the board wage increases since 2004. Wage increases and a bonus In a statement, the company proposed a system where all workers earning less than €50,000 a year would be assured a salary increase in 2008 that would be at least in line with inflation. In addition, the company proposed a €250 bonus to all of its workers payable in March this year. Union leaders are not happy with the proposals arguing that they are small gestures and that the company's policy related to renumeration remained unchanged. Instead, union representatives are calling for a nine per cent wage increase this year, to compensate for the lack of wage raises in the last three years. Furthermore, they demand annual salary increases in keeping with inflation and a thirteenth salary month. Individual programme In response to criticisms over the lack of annual salary raises L'Oréal officials stated that the company had replaced the system with an individual programme, dependent on personal contribution to the company and profit sharing. The individualised programme has led to an average wage increase of 20.7 per cent in the last five years, more than twice the rate of inflation, according to the company. Positive 2007 results Last week L'Oréal announced positive results for 2007, boosted by success in emerging markets. Operating profit increased by 11.3 per cent to €2.8 bn for the year ending the 31 December 2007. In addition, sales growth was particularly strong outside of North America and Western Europe with international sales jumping 17 per cent for the fourth quarter.