A string of protest actions against Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize saw various outlets and depots vandalised over the weekend, pushing calls for a boycott of the company until the labour dispute over franchising plans is resolved.
A company spokesperson said that the tires of five vans from the company's e-commerce depot in Drogenbos, Flemish Brabant, were punctured.
Just last weekend, several of the supermarket's stores across the country were vandalised. Notably, windows were smashed, locks jammed and façades were stained with paint.
The attacks come on the back of months of protest following Delhaize’s decision to turn all its supermarket locations into franchises.
An anonymous collective has already claimed responsibility for the action against the company vehicles, denouncing the company's management for ignoring its worker concerns and having gone back on previous labour assurances.
Approximately 9,000 current Delhaize staff have been impacted by the franchising move.
The key issue lies in the fact that they will no longer be under Delhaize's responsibility, but rather the responsibility of the individuals who will own the franchised shops.
The new shop owners will oversee aspects such as wages, working hours and workers' benefits. The bargaining power of workers will be drastically reduced as they will have to negotiate with single employers instead of a country-wide block.
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Delhaize has already filed a complaint with the police. The vandalism is not expected to have any impact on the company’s activities, the spokesperson assured.
Despite months of protests, Delhaize posted bumper profits for the first three months of 2023. The Ahold Delhaize group, which controls Delhaize, Albert Heijn and other retail stores, reported net sales of €21.62 billion.