Two of the three main trade unions have refused the “ultimate offer” with which Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize wants to end the conflict with its employees. However, the unions are critical of the perceived lack of guarantees for the future.
Delhaize offers the employees who agree to transfer to a franchised store a bonus of 1,500 euros (which can increase with seniority), and those who retire early can even get a bonus of 10,000 euros. Even though there were favourable omens at first, two of the three major unions have now closed the door to an agreement.
The most hard-line trade union, socialist BBTK, thinks the proposal offers far too little guarantees for the future, Belgian public broadcaster VRT reports. More leniency was expected of the liberal ACLVB, but they too argue that the guarantees and compensations are inadequate compared to the possible loss of wage conditions in the future. The BBTK had also hoped for a severance bonus for those who do not want to transfer to a franchised store, while the liberals expected a serious employment guarantee.
In between both is the Christian trade union, which will vote on the proposal tomorrow. Their vote will be decisive because, by Belgian law, a collective bargaining agreement is already valid if only one of the unions agrees. However, even without union support, Delhaize can go ahead with the franchising plans. Meanwhile, 32 of the 128 shops have already found a new owner, with the transfers planned between October and January.