Delhaize deadlock continues: Management still refusing to meet union demands

Delhaize deadlock continues: Management still refusing to meet union demands
Credit: The Brussels Times / Danica Van der Merwe

Yet another meeting between Delhaize management and trade unions failed to produce any tangible outcome on Tuesday.

The latest ordinary works council meeting on the supermarket group's plans to franchise its 128 self-managed shops, failed to make progress, the unions said after the meeting.

Unions are in talks with management to reverse a move which would weaken job security for employees who would no longer be directly employed by Delhaize under the new plans.

"There is not much to report, the previous promises were repeated," Jan De Weghe of the socialist union said after the meeting."The fact that they don't want to talk is obvious. They don't want to change anything," Weghe continued.

The meeting started after 09:00 on Tuesday and ended at around 11:45 when the secretaries and delegates of the three union families (Christian, socialist and liberal) walked out, RTBF reports.

Wilson Wellens of the liberal union echoed De Weghe. "It was a disappointment." Wellens condemned the fact that management continues to impose its own plans, as according to them, it is the right plan.

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According to Wellens, the management brought with them an amendment to the franchise agreement, but, according to the union representative, the document did not contain any of the reassurances that unions are seeking.

The amendment reportedly even included statements that employment is not guaranteed, nor was there a place for the franchisee's signature, which would create a legal limbo. "[The situation] creates so much frustration that people get angry," Wellens continued.

Around 30 employees from Delhaize's distribution centre in Zellik showed solidarity with the shop workers, chanting: "We want guarantees, logistics are in danger."

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