Unions representing Delhaize workers are not satisfied with management following the latest meeting of the Delhaize's new works council, which only lasted for an hour. “Once again, no alternatives have been offered,” said Wilson Wellens of the liberal union ACLVB. The strikes are likely to continue.
The supermarket chain wants to pass on its 128 shops to independent operators, which unions insist will lead to a worsening of working conditions for Delhaize staff. The new consultation between the management and the unions on the subject of the franchise remains very tense. The security guards the management summoned stayed outside the meeting room, as the unions requested.
According to Wellens, the consultations went no further than a "parallel conversation" in which both sides reiterated their positions. "The management did not offer any alternatives," he said. Unions are pushing for alternative options due to concerns over worsening working conditions for employees under the franchise model.
Too much uncertainty
The unions also want to know what will happen in the event of bankruptcy, in particular, whether the cost will fall on the taxpayer. According to Wellens, the management will respond to the unions’ questions in writing.
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In the meantime, the unions hope that politicians will do something. There have already been contacts and staff representatives have another meeting with Flemish Minister of Work Jo Brouns on Tuesday evening at 18:00. However, Wellens said that it is mainly up to the Federal Government to do something about the situation.
The union official does not expect the strikes to be over yet. "The anger among staff is too great," he said. Currently, 76 Delhaize shops are closed, the striking staff are also blocking the chain’s distribution centre.