Marks & Spencer tried Wednesday to hold its first meeting with workers' representatives as it seeks to comply with a French court ruling ordering full employee consultation before ending its operations there. But the workers' representatives didn't show.

Union sources said no date has been set for the first meeting with staff representatives at the French operations of UK retailer Marks & Spencer in the employee consultation process ordered by a French court.

Patrick Brody, the secretary general of union Sycopa, said the law states the dates have to be fixed jointly by the management and the secretaries of the local workers' committees and the central workers' committee and that this has not happened.

M&S management had suggested a preliminary meeting be held on April 10 and the consultation process began on April 24.

"The law says the dates have to be fixed jointly by the management and the secretaries of the local workers' committees and the central workers' committee," said Patrick Brody, the secretary general of Sycopa, one of the four unions that sought the court ruling.

"That hasn't been done yet," said Brody.

In the absence of a mutually agreed date for the first meeting, Brody said it wasn't likely the first full consultation meeting would take place before early May. M&S said it isn't rushing to close the stores and had always expected to operate them until the end of the year.