'Whose side are you on?': Hundreds of posters call for boycott of Delhaize

'Whose side are you on?': Hundreds of posters call for boycott of Delhaize
Credit: Boycott Delhaize

Activists have "hijacked" hundreds of billboards in several cities across Belgium with posters calling for a boycott of Delhaize by asking people not to do their groceries at the supermarket chain.

'Boycott Delhaize' and 'Workers on strike: whose side are you on?' are some of the slogans on nearly 500 posters put up on billboards in Brussels, Liège and Namur by the 'Boycott Delhaize' collective, which consists of citizens who support the chain's employees.

"With these posters, we want to invite all the people who still shop at Delhaize to join the many customers of the store who have decided to support the employees by boycotting the brand," Camille, a member of the collective, told RTBF.

"We want to show that the workers are not the only ones fighting this," the collective added. "We are also outraged by the repeated attacks on the right to strike and the deafening silence of the left parties in the government."

What's going on at Delhaize?

In early March, the management of supermarket chain Delhaize decided to franchise its self-managed 128 shops: the chain will continue to own the brand, but the shops themselves will be owned by independent managers.

Trade unions representing the affected staff are furious as they fear this will eventually lead to decreased pay and poorer working conditions for the thousands of employees who have to make the switch.

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One of the main sticking points was management's previous labour assurance to staff that there would be no changes to their working conditions. Now, their job assurances have been left in the mud.

Since the announcement, extensive trade union action has taken place, with shop closures, depot blockades and a large demonstration earlier this week.

Several rounds of negotiations have yielded nothing so far, with management refusing to engage with unions over staff concerns.

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