Food stores can now be open from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM as an emergency measure to limit the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), according to a Ministerial Decree of the federal government.
This decision that food stores, including supermarkets, can be open until 10:00 PM has angered the trade unions, as the previous maximum opening hours were until 8:00 PM. The extension of the opening hours was decided without consultation with the trade unions, according to Myriam Delmée, the president of the SETCA trade sector union.
"It is a real scandal when we know that shop staff are already working themselves to death. The demand of the trade unions is to limit the opening hours, not to extend them," she told RTBF.
The shop staff are angry, according to the union. "We should not be surprised if, at some point, social movements will happen. Working to feed the population is one thing, disregarding the staff, not protecting them, and always asking for more, is something else," she added.
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Additionally, "the special powers" of the Wilmès government should only concern the public health management of the coronavirus crisis, and not be used to question social legislation, the FGTB socialist union said in a statement on its website.
The previous Ministerial Order, of 18 March, on emergency measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus was also drafted "without consultation with the trade union organisations" and "under the sole influence of lobbying by employers' organisations," FGTB said, calling on employers to take responsibility so that employees do not have to put their health and well-being at risk in order to secure the employer's profits.
The Brussels Times