Social unrest in the Dutch retail sector is heading towards a climax: in addition to the Christmas strikes already announced at Bijenkorf, actions are ongoing at drugstore chains Etos, Trekpleister, Kruidvat and Holland & Barrett.
On Monday morning, shops of Etos (an Ahold Delhaize subsidiary) in Amsterdam and the surrounding area remained closed. Three hundred employees held an protest on the Dam Square in the city centre. They are supported by colleagues from Kruidvat, Trekpleister and Holland & Barrett. Employees in other regions will also go on strike in the coming days, trade union FNV Handel reports.
The main demand of the activists is a wage increase of at least 10 % in January, to compensate for inflation. Employees simply need this adjustment to inflation to survive, the trade union claims. “Salaries in drugstores, as in the whole shopping street, are scandalously low. While the companies make huge profits that almost all go to shareholders,” union executive Cindy Onvlee explains.
Other retailers are also going through difficult times: department store chain de Bijenkorf (part of the AS Watson group) is on strike on 23 and 24 December. Demands for higher wages are also heard at Hema, Albert Heijn and ANWB shops. This could become the biggest retail strike of all time in the Netherlands, the union threatens.