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    New Look wants to close Belgian stores, 110 jobs on the line

    The New Look chain of clothing stores has announced at a works council meeting that it intends to file for bankruptcy for its six Belgian stores, the CNE and Setca unions said on Thursday. New Look personnel decided at a general assembly on Thursday to go on strike against the move, which would affect 110 workers.

    “The company has been in difficulty for many years in Belgium, stores have closed down one after the other (Brugge, Anderlecht, Liège…) and management finally breaks the news to us with few figures,” the CNE (National Council of Employees) said in a press release.

    The union said it regretted the fact that New Look was “carefully” circumventing the Renault Law by opting for bankruptcy, “which is totally unacceptable”. It called on the Government “to take up its responsibilities and toughen the legislation in such situations.”

    Belgium’s 1998 “Renault Law” requires companies to inform and consult workers when carrying out mass redundancies. The law, which replaced previous legislation regarding such dismissals, does not apply to bankruptcies.

    “The personnel voted for strike action on Thursday morning,” explained Laurent Guerriti-Gerbi of Setca, the General Federation of Belgian Workers. “The bankruptcy petition is to be filed next week. We wish to put pressure (on the company) to find an alternative solution to bankruptcy.”

    Two of New Look’s six stores in Belgium are in Antwerp, two are in Brussels and one each in Hasselt and Mons. “Work has already stopped at the stores in Brussels and Mons,” Guerriti-Gerbi said.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times