Sports Direct staff strike forces Brussels stores to close this weekend
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Sports Direct staff strike forces Brussels stores to close this weekend

A Sportsdirect store in the UK. Credit: wikipedia

Almost all Sports Direct stores in Brussels have been forced to close their stores on Saturday after a massive staff strike over reduced hours for staff.

The British company, which has 37 branches in Belgium, saw almost all of the 21 stores in the capital and Wallonia forced to stay closed on Saturday morning. Only three were still open at 10:00 AM explained Jalil Bourhidane, of the CNE union.

“After two days of negotiations, we are going in circles. We find that we have no answers to our questions on a great many points. That’s why the workers decided to go on strike today,” explained Bourhidane.

Stores remain open in Arlon and two in Brussels, in City 2 (where a picket was installed) and in Drogenbos. It is unclear what the situation is in Flanders stores.

The “drastic” reduction in the number of hours in store is at the heart of this social conflict. “We want a transparent system of hours that is sustainable and adequate to the needs of each store, as well as a very clear perspective on the future (number of stores, locations, etc.). No more renaming of commercial leases should be made without having discussed it beforehand with the representatives of the personnel”, added Bourhidane.

The personnel also goes on strike to claim a reduction of the working time (32 hours in 4 days/week) without loss of salary.

Sports Direct employs about 450 people in Belgium, a majority of whom are young people with uncertain contracts, the permanent secretary CNE still denounces.

Stores are expected to reopen on Monday but other days of action are possible depending on the reaction of the management, he warns.

The Brussels Times