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Delhaize offers €40 million in staff bonuses to put an end to strikes and protests

22:48 21/09/2023

Supermarket chain Delhaize is offering some 9,000 staff members a one-time bonus of €1,500 plus €125 per year worked, in an attempt to put an end to the ongoing strikes and protests against its move to franchise.

With an average seniority of 18 years, the bonus would be roughly €3,750 for many employees.

The ACLVB union unanimously rejected the proposal, which is estimated to cost €40 million, while the vote from other unions is not yet known.

Only one union’s support is needed to approve the agreement, which would also entice eligible employees to retire early with a bonus of €10,000.

Delhaize has been locked in a labour battle with its employees, who say that switching stores over to a franchise model with independent private owners of each store will result in a loss of pay and benefits.

They also worry that an already difficult workload will only increase.

Delhaize has refused to budge from its position, resulting in months of strikes and protests from both employees and customers alike.

Meanwhile, the supermarket chain has purchased a church in Ghent, with €3 million in Flemish subsidies, that it plans to turn into another shop.

Local residents had protested against the purchase, not wanting to see Saint Anne’s Church converted into a supermarket, but the deal went through with a lease of 99 years, after which the church will be returned to the city of Ghent.

Delhaize said it was committed to respecting the unique character of the church, for example by not using flashy illuminated advertising on the facade. Works will begin next year.

“We are making a substantial effort to restore the exterior and interior of the church,” said spokesman Roel Dekelver.

“This is a very emotional issue. But with these plans, we will take into account the history of the building. The facade will be restored to its full splendour. Inside, we will preserve all the cultural and historical elements.”

Written by Helen Lyons