Delhaize to face further strikes until end of month

Delhaize to face further strikes until end of month
Credit: Belga / Benoit Doppagne

Trade unions representing employees of supermarket chain Delhaize filed a new strike notice on Friday, said Hilde Verhelst, secretary of the Christian labour union ACV.

The current strike notice, which saw the vast majority of supermarket staff affected by a corporate decision to turn store locations into franchises, will run until the end of the month. A new notice has been filed for striking workers at Delhaize. A new notice has already been filed for workers working in the corporate section of the company.

As a reminder, workers have been protesting against a decision to turn all Belgian stores managed by the supermarket chain into franchises, a decision which reportedly went against previous labour assurances given to workers. The CEO of Delhaize's parent company, Ahold Delhaize, reportedly took home a paycheck of €6.5 million last year. 

Successive works councils have failed to break the deadlock, which has been ongoing for nearly a month now. Unions said that they are unsatisfied with the response of the company’s management, who reportedly “did not offer any alternatives.”

As of 23 March, 66 stores are now open but all locations in Brussels remain closed. Workers fear that the new independent owners could run the store how they see fit, slashing pay, establishing worse working conditions, and cutting work benefits.

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Verhelst called on the management of Delhaize to begin negotiating seriously about the fate of the supermarket brand. There are additional fears for the fate of workers and supermarket locations in the event that the chain goes bankrupt.

“A third extraordinary works council is scheduled for next Tuesday (28 March). It will be a crucial moment. We are asking the management, which has so far left no openings, to enter into negotiations,” she said.

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