'This blockade is a warning': Delhaize e-commerce depot blocked by strike action

'This blockade is a warning': Delhaize e-commerce depot blocked by strike action
Delhaize truck at the headquarters of supermarket chain Delhaize, in Asse. Credit: Belga/Benoit Doppagne

The warehouse of Delhome, a company that handles Delhaize e-commerce deliveries in Drogenbos, has been blocked by striking workers on Saturday morning, the CNE, Setca and CSC A&S unions announced.

The trade union picket has been blocking the entrance to the warehouse on the Chaussée de Ruisbroeck in Drogenbos since 5:00 this morning. The strike action has resulted in the cancellation of the delivery of some 1,000 orders in the Brussels Region.

The strike action follows Delhaize's announcement they would be providing free deliveries for all customers in order to bypass the strike, which unions say is increasing the workload despite a lack of staff.

The common trade union front wants to reiterate workers' opposition to the full franchising of Delhaize supermarkets, but also to highlight the situation of the employees in this subsidiary. “Delhome has gone from 78 full-time employees in 2014 to 30 today,” stated Marina Kunzi, a member of the CSC A&S trade union.

“But alongside this, management is outsourcing work to more freelancers. Delhaize subcontracts deliveries to Delhome, which subcontracts deliveries to two subcontractors, ALS and Green Bird. They in turn subcontracts to several companies that subcontract work to self-employed people who are active partners in these subcontracting companies. Is this the entrepreneurial model that Delhaize claims to defend?,” Kunzi stated.

The workload is then increased for employees, break times are not respected and overtime is often not paid, the trade unions add. According to them, management has blocked any hiring until employees agree to work later at night.

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The unions are also demanding maintaining non-franchised supermarkets and additional recruitment to reduce the workload of staff.

“This blockade is a warning, we will not hesitate to go further if we are not heard by Delhaize and Delhome,” warns Myriam Djegham, national secretary for commerce at the CNE.

In addition, 103 out of 128 regular, non-franchised supermarkets remained closed, compared to 83 on Friday, a Delhaize spokesperson said. The supermarket chain also stated that it regrets the blockade by the unions of the Delhome warehouse, a company that handles Delhaize e-commerce deliveries, in Drogenbos.

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