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13 Oct 2021

The Brussels Times

Belgium: 100 Lidl stores closed by staff strikes over 'excessive workloads'

"100 Lidl stores closed by staff strike, unions warn more to come", 13 October 2021

Lidl stores across Belgium have closed their doors...due to a staff strike over excessive workloads, with unions threatening further action in coming days if nothing changes.

...Belga News Agency reports around 100 supermarkets and two of the five distribution centres were affected...

Unions have raised concerns that since 2018, new tasks in Lidl supermarkets have left staff exhausted and unable to cope, Belga News Agency reports.

“These are structural measures that we have been asking for since 2018” the CGSLB union stated. “The evolution of the shops must go hand in hand with the improvement of the employees’ working conditions”.

The common trade union blames the strike on the failure of the conciliation meeting about the new collective agreement...Confusingly...both sides disagree as to whether the meeting even took place.

“We regret that the trade union partners decided on Monday to call off the meeting,” Lidl spokeswoman Isabelle Colbrandt told local media on Wednesday morning. “There was a constructive proposal on the table with numerous measures to improve the organisation for our colleagues in the shops. Unfortunately, the social partners chose to take action. Our customers, among others, are the victims of this.”

Yet this statement has been disputed by unions.  “The meeting on Monday did take place (it was not cancelled as stated in the management’s press release). It was a conciliation meeting after which the social partners were unable to reach a solution,” the CGSLB said...