Wallonia’s Economic Affairs Minister, Willy Borsus, launched an appeal on Sunday for social dialogue at Logistics Nivelles and the French distribution chain Carrefour, sole client of the logistics firm, where 549 jobs are on the line.
Following an announcement on Wednesday by the Kuehne+Nagel logistics group that it was closing its Nivelles site and retrenching its entire workforce, staff at Logistics Nivelles and employees of the Supertransport company went on strike.
The unions accuse the group’s management of “sabotaging” the Nivelles plant by refusing to invest in it and investing instead in its Flemish sites at Kontich and Kampenhout, to which it plans to relocate its operations in Wallonia.
“Some doors remain open,” Mr. Borsus (Mouvement Réformateur) said on Sunday on the RTL-TVi’s ‘C’est pas tous les jours dimanche’ programme, mentioning the possibility of external mediation to get unions and management back to the negotiating table.
The minister deplored the lack of investment by the group in the site in recent years, as well as a “type of trade union radicalism” which, in his eyes, undermined social dialogue. This charge was rejected by the joint trade union front.
For its part, Carrefour “could give some signs,” according to Minister Borsus.
“Carrefour has a strong presence in Wallonia,” he noted. “I cannot imagine that not a single logistics centre will be present in Wallonia when many of its competitors have them.”
“Wallonia’s Government stands ready to mobilise all efforts as early as next week,” he added.
The Brussels Times