Dozens of Lidl stores in Belgium are closed due to a strike for the third day this week and on Saturday, the unions even hope to keep all 309 of them closed. The problem is the workload, and the fact that management has postponed reconciliation talks to Monday.
One in three stores closed
The strike started earlier this week and reached more than a hundred stores (one in three stores in Belgium) on Wednesday. There are varied accounts for Thursday, but on Friday unions are speaking about the same level of closures. As thus far the store closures were spontaneous rather than orchestrated, it is hard to put an exact number on the stores that had to close.
The major issue is the workload, which was only exacerbated by the management's decision to revert earlier reinforcement plans. A first reconciliation attempt on Monday failed, and Lidl's management now wants to try again next Monday - and calls upon the unions to reopen the stores in the mean time. "We regret the stores being closed and hope there will be a constructive dialogue", spokesperson Isabelle Colbrandt told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
The unions, on the other hand, state that they are not refusing a dialogue - and that they are not the ones delaying the reconciliation talks until next week. In the mean time, they warn customers to expect spontaneous actions in stores on Friday, and even a full-blown strike across all stores on Saturday. In doing so, they want to send a signal to management that "has to understand that our demand for respect and staff is not just a slogan."