Language tensions see five Intermarché stores in Brussels go on strike

Language tensions see five Intermarché stores in Brussels go on strike
Intermarche took over 86 Mestdagh supermarkets previously under the Carrefour moniker. BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR

Five branches of Intermarché by Mestdagh (previously Carrefour Market by Mesdagh) are carrying out strike action on Wednesday, the Central National Employees (CNE) union announced in a press release. Stores in Uccle, Forest, Schaerbeek, Molenbeek, and Jette are affected.

The action follows discontent among staff about the takeover of Mestdagh by French supermarket giant Intermarché. This has seen the stores move away from operating as a chain to a franchise model of management. Some staff have also taken issue with problems relating to the rebranding of the stores.

“Internmarché is a French company and does not want to automatically invest in bilingualism for just its Brussels and two Dutch-speaking stores. The consequence: workers are required to print and stick labels on each Intermarché brand product, individually, and in a chaotic work organisation,” the CNE complained.

The union also denounces the decision of Intermarché to use workers from an external firm “without consultation” or proper training and without finding a lasting solution to the issues at the stores.

A conciliatory meeting is scheduled between the union and the supermarket management on Wednesday at 14:00 to address the issues, the CNE said.

Related News

Unions have previously expressed concern about Intermarché’s takeover of the former Carrefour Market by Mestdagh locations. Despite passing the Belgian competition authority’s inspection, unions complain that they were not well informed of the major changes to Mestdagh’s operations.

In Wallonia and Brussels, Intermarché controls an impressive share of the market. With the franchise agreement with the Mestdagh locations, Intermarché now controls 163 stores and more than 225,000 metres squared of retail space nationally.

The combined turnover of the company is equal to €1.4 billion – 12.4% of the market share in Wallonia and Brussels.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.