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Lidl supermarkets back open today as labour agreement reached

12:09 19/10/2021

All outlets of supermarket chain Lidl will be back open as of 14.00 today, following a strike that started last week. Unions and management have reached an agreement on labour conditions, including increasing the number of substitute workers.

Last Wednesday saw more than one-third of Lidl’s 300 outlets across Belgium shut as workers formed picket lines to protest at working conditions. While Lidl management has taken steps over the last few months to reform the labour contract according to workers’ demands, a few sticking points saw the talks grind to a halt early last week.

Workers began downing tools on Wednesday. Complaints include too few full-time contracts, not enough trained substitute workers to call on when needed and work they feel should be outsourced, such as cleaning.

‘Five jobs at once’

Workers at Lidl are also tasked with arranging new promotions and discounts, which are sent in on a near daily basis by management. Lidl spokesperson Brigitte Dewilde told VRT that employees are stretched too thin.

“We have to do four or five jobs at the same time,” she said. “If you’re working the bakery, you have to be available on a register, unload freight and break down cardboard. There are just too many tasks; we cannot deal with it all with the number of people that we have.”

As of yesterday, some 70 of the 300 Lidl supermarkets were still closed, but all of them will be open by 14.00 today.

Photo ©Thierry Roge/BELGA

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw