Since Wednesday, a strike movement has affected the low-cost chain of stores Lidl: a hundred stores (more than 30% of all Belgian stores) and two distribution centers have closed due to social unrest. The movement could harden in the coming hours: unions announce that nearly one in two stores could be closed tomorrow, and all distribution centers should be closed. Tomorrow Thursday, after meetings within unions and between them, common front actions should be decided.
The common union front blames the failure of conciliation on the new collective agreement which was held on Monday. “Monday’s meeting did take place (it was not canceled as we can read in the management press release). It was a conciliation meeting after which the social partners could not find a solution.“, specifies the CGSLB.
Bailiff at the Genk distribution center
The management announced in the evening that they had sent a bailiff to the Genk distribution center to lift the blockage of the trucks by the strikers. “Tomorrow (Thursday, note), many stores will reopen and we must be able to supply them“said Lidl spokesperson Isabelle Colbrandt, justifying the action.”Also, fresh produce has been delivered and if we don’t distribute it, it might spoil.“Management hopes to be able to resume negotiations with the unions as soon as possible.
The picket line was lifted on Wednesday evening after the dispatch of this bailiff, confirmed the socialist union. Actions in stores will continue on Thursday. “We voluntarily gave up the picket line“, explains trade unionist Mary-Anne Smeets.”A bailiff arrived and we then decided to change our strategy and raise the stake.“
Many new tasks and activities, which exhaust the staff
The management’s proposals remain insufficient and do not respond to the difficulties encountered daily by the staff, according to the CGSLB. Since 2018, new tasks have been added, new articles have widened the assortment shelves of Lidl stores. With the consequence that the staff is exhausted, it can no longer, according to the CGSLB. “These are structural measures that we have been asking for since 2018 and that they also be adapted to the reality of the many new tasks and activities that staff must perform.“, advance the CGSLB.”The development of stores must go hand in hand with the improvement of the working conditions of employees“.