Sandra Bya, married with two children, has been off work from her job at Solwal on medical leave for depression. During her absence from work, her boss, M. Dumont, on the suggestion of her immediate supervisor, the shop foreman Jean-Marc, figures that her section of the company can function with sixteen people working full time with a bit of overtime instead of seventeen with no overtime, that seventeenth person being Sandra. Because of the global competition the company faces, Dumont decides the company can only finance the annual bonuses for those sixteen employees, which are EUR1,000 per person, or Sandra’s job, leaving the decision to those sixteen. On a Friday near the end of her medical leave, Sandra learns of this situation from her friend and co-worker Juliette after the “show of hands” vote is held, the result a 13-3 decision for the bonuses over Sandra’s job. Because Juliette knows Jean-Marc, who is determined to get rid of Sandra, influenced the vote by scare mongering through misinformation, Juliette and Sandra, at the end of the working day on Friday, are able to convince Dumont to hold another secret ballot on Monday morning, with Sandra needing a majority to keep her job, meaning nine votes. By Saturday morning, Sandra’s supportive husband, Manu, convinces her that over the weekend she should speak to each and all of the thirteen who voted for the bonuses to get them to change their minds. The Byas not only need the income from Sandra’s job but Manu believes the job is a symbol for Sandra of her own self worth, important now in her tenuous mental state. As Sandra reluctantly goes about this task, she finds that not only is she uncomfortable being in this somewhat confrontational situation, but that the people who voted against her have their own household conflicts over their own EUR1,000, which would keep some of them afloat financially. As the weekend progresses, Sandra will find if she is strong enough emotionally to deal with the situation.
Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
21 May 2014 (Belgium, France, Italy)