Slovenia: Dismissal process initiated against Lidl union leader in midst of COVID-19 organizing, allegedly due to negligence; company responded

In early March 2020, Lidl Slovenia initiated the dismissal process for Tjasa Kozole, the founder of the union in the company and an employee and branch manager of nine years, allegedly for breaches of contractual obligations due to serious negligence. A public petition that gathered close to 4000 signatures was signed, condemning the dismissal of the woman union leader, who has been leading the union for a year and was recently trying to organize better protection for workers in the context of the spread of COVID-19. Trade Union of Workers in the trade sector of Slovenia stated that allegations against Tjasa were groundless and that the threat of dismissal was due to her active role in the trade union and her efforts to improve the working conditions of Lidl employees. Lidl Slovenia publicly dismissed the allegations made by them and other union headquarters and trade unions, insisting that the dismissal process is legal. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre wrote to Lidl headquarters and invited them to respond - they did not, but Lidl Slovenian did. Lidl Slovenia's response is available below.

Get RSS feed of these results

All components of this story

Company response
30 March 2020

Lidl Slovenia responded

[W]e refute any and all insinuations about the company LIDL Slovenija...allegedly initiating the procedure of ordinary termination for misconduct due to her trade union activities against its employee, Mrs Tjaša Kozole, who is also the President of SDTS – Lidl Slovenia Union. We also refute allegations about LIDL Slovenija... exerting any pressure against other union members. We already held a meeting about the aforementioned matters with the Slovenian Retail Workers’ Union (SDTS) on 12 March 2020... Mrs Tjaša Kozole is indeed the President of SDTS – Lidl Slovenia Union, but does not enjoy, due to her status as union president, any special protection from termination of employment if contractual and other obligations arising from the employment relationship are violated...  It is... not true that Mrs Kozole found out about the procedure of ordinary termination for misconduct from the media on 3 March 2020. Mrs Kozole accepted the written notification preceding ordinary termination for misconduct on 17 March 2020... Unfortunately, we cannot avoid the conclusion that Mrs Kozole has been abusing the SDTS - Lidl Slovenia Union and her status as union president solely for her private purposes... Sadly, Mrs Kozole has also been abusing the Slovenian Retail Workers’ Union to protect her private interests... Mrs Kozole has, unfortunately, been pursuing a very aggressive campaign against LIDL Slovenija in the media... We will not and must not succumb to such pressures...

Download the full document here

Article
30 March 2020

Slovenia: Petition in support of union leader threatened of dismissal

Author: The Trade Union of Worker’s in trade sector Slovenia

"Online Petition: We are all Tjasa - We urge LIDL to halt the dismissal of the union president!", Mar 2020

During these times of crisis, they are dismissing a trade unionist in a store.... While most of us are staying at home, some workers continue to work daily to make sure society does not completely fall apart. They are the last line of defense. They include supermarket workers that, despite burnout and stress, continue to make sure that we have access to basic necessities of life. In Lidl, the epidemic exacerbated the problems that had been plaguing workers already before the onset of COVID-19. Together with the Slovenian Retail Workers’ Union (SDTS), the Lidl Slovenia Union has been warning that, given the volume of work, there were too few female workers available for each shift to be able to perform the work properly. Now that traffic has increased even more, as new tasks have been introduced, including emergency disinfecting of stores; now, in a time of health crisis, when many female retailer workers have fallen ill, including due to savings in protective equipment – now Lidl decided to fire the union president Tjaša Kozole...

Read the full post here

Download the full document here

Article
30 March 2020

Slovenia: Trade Union raises concerns about threatened dismissal of union leader

Author: The Trade Union of Worker’s in trade sector Slovenia

"Lidl informs their employee of the termination of employment via the media", 03 Mar 2020

The president of the LIDL Slovenia union and longtime manager in Lidl, Tjaša Kozole, is threatened with termination of employment, which she first officially learned about from the media. On Monday (March 2, 2020), the journalists of the weekly newspaper Tednik revealed the difficult working conditions faced by workers in the discount retail chains in our country. They also recorded a statement from a Lidl spokesman, who explained that in the past few days they have been trying to deliver to Tjaša "a written notice prior to regular termination for breaches of contractual obligations due to serious negligence" The Trade Union of Workers in trade sector of Slovenia (SDTS) is of the opinion that in Tjaša’s case these are groundless allegations related to Tjaša's active role in the trade union and her efforts to improve the working conditions of Lidl employees. The SDTS, therefore, sided with LIDL Slovenia Union, which was formed just a year ago, and calls on the Lidl authorities to find a favourable solution to Tjaša's situation, as they can jointly prevent the termination of their employment contract through dialogue. Otherwise, Lidl will face protest rallies and a call for a boycott of Lidl shops by Slovenian consumers.

Read the full post here

Download the full document here

Article
30 March 2020

Slovenia: Union leader dismissal process initiated while Lidl dismisses allegations of wrongdoing

Author: Dnevnik

"Lidl continues to reject allegations of wrongdoing in the case of unionist's dismissal", 22 Mar 2020

Via a law firm, Lidl Slovenia dismissed the allegations made by several union headquarters and trade unions in the past few days. They insist that the dismissal process for Tjaša Kozole, the founder of the union in their company, is legal...Lidl continues to strongly deny the allegations that the written warnings prior to the regular dismissal due to culpability against Kozole was in any way related to her trade union activity. It emphasizes that all employees are expected to perform their work conscientiously in accordance with contractual and other obligations arising from the employment relationship. According to Lidl, the union’s reproaching Lidl for acting immorally is unfounded, since the company started trying to inform Kozole in writing on 27 February, about the regular dismissal due to culpability, and initially planned the hearing on 5 March, when no epidemic or coronavirus pandemic had been declared neither in Europe nor Slovenia... Trade unions have warned that the acting of Lidl's leadership during the time of the epidemic, when workers in stores are at high risk, with many lacking adequate protective equipment, is "particularly shameful"... The Trade Union of Worker’s in trade sector, Slovenia... claims that the pursuit of Kozole started after she began organizing her co-workers in the company and started efforts to initiate social dialogue... 

Read the full post here

Download the full document here