A picket line, involving joint trade union action, blocked the entrance to the Brussels branch of Marks & Spencer this morning (Wednesday). Yves Flamand, an official from the union SETCa (the trade union representing employees, technicians and executives) stated clearly, “We have decided to get tough with a view to at least obtaining responses to our numerous questions, and to thus inform staff of the situation.”
The Socialist trade union representative denounced, “Since the announcement of the closure of the Brussels branch, four meetings were scheduled with management that then proceeded to cancel two of them. It confirmed, as its excuse, that it was not ready to hold the meetings.”
He adds, “The Belgian management do not seem ill-intentioned, but they have clearly their orders from head office in London, which has decided to pull the plug.” The shops affected by closure – around a hundred in total worldwide – are due to close between mid-May and mid-July.
Marks & Spencer reopened a shop in Belgium in May 2015, having left the country once before in 2001. Its decision in 2001 had followed a policy of refocusing upon the English market.
On November 8th this year, the group made its intention known to close the Brussels branch, a decision which places 126 jobs under threat.