Supermarkets reopen following strikes over work conditions amid coronavirus

Supermarkets reopen following strikes over work conditions amid coronavirus
© Belga

All shops shut down on Wednesday as staff went on strike in protest of inadequate working conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic have now reopened, trade unions said.

On Wednesday, workers at three shops in Brussels, in Ixelles and Anderlecht dropped work after management refused their requests for better compensation and sanitary protection.

Staff at a Delhaize shop in the Walloon town of Jambes and of the Herman-Debroux Delhaize in Brussels joined the protest movement, but all shops have now reopened, Delhaize spokesperson Roel Dekelver said.

Announcing the strike movement, trade union CSC said that staff worked without appropriate access to mouth masks or gloves and that a shop in the Walloon town of Jambes would also close down in the course of Wednesday.

Staff were also demanding better compensation after the supermarket chain offered workers meal vouchers of a slightly higher value than usual until the month of June.

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“We want, as a minimum, that this augmentation becomes recurrent, but management refused,” Brussels’ CSC representative Rosetta Scibilia told La Libre.

“Major retailers are making a lot of money right now and it would only be fair that their workers could benefit from that as well,” Scibilia added.

Negotiations on Wednesday between unionized workers and management saw the company table new measures for staff, including €8 meal vouchers good for one year, instead of four months, according to the Belga news agency.

The company also said it would provide its staff with masks from this weekend and that staff could use meal vouchers for a maximum of €100 until June and of €50 until the end of the year.

Unions are still expected to give an answer to the new proposals on the course of Thursday.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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