Despite its restructuring plan announced on Thursday last, Carrefour “believes in Belgium”, Wallonia’s Minister of the Economy and Labour, Pierre-Yves Jeholet, said on Tuesday after a meeting with the management of the French retail giant. “Carrefour believes in Belgium, naturally with an indispensable restructuring and digitalization, but there are over 10,000 persons (employed by Carrefour in Belgium) beyond the 1,233 employees concerned by the plan,” the Reformist Movement (MR) minister told Belga news agency.
He added that, to limit job losses to the maximum, the Carrefour management had confirmed to him, on the eve of a meeting with the unions, that it was willing to examine “all conceivable avenues”. The management “has the profiles of the workers concerned, and we will see with the regional operators (Forem, VDAB, Actiris) which arrangements and frameworks to put in place,” the minister added.
“The present situation shows that there is significant number of vacant posts, so it’s a favorable employment context to work with,” he continued. “The company has already been contacted by other employers” to find worker profiles.
The regional public employment services for Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia, Actiris, VDAB and Forem respectively, have been mandated since Friday to draw up a social emergency plan that will probably involve the setting up of a special Carrefour cell, since “it will not be enough to work within the existing arrangements,” the minister said.
Regarding the future of the various Carrefour sites, the group is open to reviewing them on a case-by-case basis, without excluding the idea of transforming half of the hypermarkets into markets (supermarkets). As in Friday’s meeting with the Federal Government, Carrefour was represented by Carrefour Belgium Secretary-General Geoffroy Gersdorff and Human Resources Director Sonja Frey.