The Delhaize employees at the Zellik distribution centre and the Ninove warehouse have decided to halt work, after the management announced details on its restructiring plans. A dozen stores has followed suit, with more to follow.
"People will explode"
There have been spontaneous strikes at Delhaize, at its Zellik distribution centre after the night shift had already decided to stop working. The people at the Ninove warehouse have also stopped working and a dozen stores, mainly in the Liege and Brussels area, have done the same. In Ostend, employees have also followed suit.
The labour unions have divulged the details from the Works Council to their members at several employee meetings. Delhaize Belgium's board is restructuring the company and has asked employees to take a pay cut.
After that Works Council, Veerle Verleyen (part of the LBC labour union) had already warned that spontaneous strikes could happen: The employees are being stripped naked. People will explode when they hear this."
Short end of the stick
The labour unions were handed the "short end of the stick" at the meeting: the board had apparently wants to lower gross wages with 90 euro, freeze the seniority fees, cut gross bonuses and classify jobs differently.
"We still have to calculate the full extent, but this will hit hard. A lot of Delhaize employees work part-time for low wages", Verleyen said. She pointed out that government decisions, like the index jump and how they will phase out runway jobs (fewer hours near retirement), will come on top of these Delhaize measures.
From Friday onward, labour unions will back strikes. "These will be bigger than last time, when 15 stores closed. Our members will decide, but we will not hold back", Jan De Weghe (from the socialistic labour union BBTK) predicted.