Over 400 prospective buyers for Delhaize supermarkets

Over 400 prospective buyers for Delhaize supermarkets
Credit: Belga / Laurie Dieffembacq

Delhaize already has more than 400 prospective buyers for the 128 self-managed supermarkets it wants to franchise, as another ordinary works council to resolve the labour dispute was once again stalled on Monday.

There is at least one candidate for each of Delhaize's 128 self-managed shops and at least two candidates for 90% of the shops, Delhaize management stated in a press release on Monday.

The supermarket chain wanted reportedly to further discuss its future plan on Monday, but union representatives left the meeting claiming that management had been "throwing oil on the fire".

Eight shops per week

"The impasse is complete," the liberal union secretary Wilson Wellens confirmed, although he was not present at the works council himself. According to Wellens, the unions left the works council because it was "not the right place to talk about the future plan."

The ACLVB secretary pointed out that strikes and also vandalism against Delhaize are on the rise again. "The best thing now is to intervene from above. We are thinking of the Dermagne cabinet (the Minister of Works). They are very competent and have followed the Delhaize dossier closely."

According to L'Echo, Delhaize's management reportedly plans to franchise eight of its shops every week, which would see all supermarket branches franchised by the beginning of next year.

The spokesperson for Delhaize, Roel Dekelver, denies that this was discussed at the works council on Monday. The intention was, however, to discuss the future plan, explain a number of accompanying measures and answer questions from union representatives, Deklever said.

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Delhaize guaranteed in the press release that it will not close any of the shops until a buyer is found, and at least not until the end of 2028.

The supermarket chain also wants to confirm in writing, together with the independent acquirer, that wage and working conditions for shop employees will be maintained after the takeover. Employees on time credit would also keep their current bonuses, as Delhaize would reportedly make up the difference in the future.

Delhaize's management also promised a bonus of €1,500 gross "to recognise our shop associates for their continuous commitment to provide quality service to our customers." The bonus will be increased by €100 per year of seniority. For those Delhaize headquarters employees who lose their jobs, the management will make "an improved severance bonus proposal."

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