Police intervene to relieve Delhaize distribution centre (VIDEO)
The industrial dispute at supermarket chain Delhaize continues. At 2 AM this morning police were deployed to guarantee access at the Delhaize distribution centre in Zellik. Yesterday evening some 300 trade unionists started a blockade of the centre ahead of the busy Easter weekend. Staff at Delhaize are protesting against management plans to franchise the 128 stores they still operate. A majority of the group’s stores are already run by independents.
Staff have been taking action for nearly a month now to put pressure on the company to revisit its plans.
Trades unionists at Zellik were determined. “Our message remains the same: no to the franchise plan. Then we can talk, but Delhaize doesn’t want to talk to us. They only want to discuss the details” says Cédric Claeys. “We will continue all night. It’s a clear message to Delhaize. The Easter weekend is important for them thanks to their employees that they are now neglecting”.
Police intervened at 2 AM. Eight trucks were able to leave to supply stores. “It’s fewer than usual. Normally dozens of trucks supply shops from this depot” says trades unionist Elisabeth Lovecchio.
Cédric Claeys: “There was a convivial atmosphere till 2 AM. Then we were met by police with batons and shields. It was an exaggerated response”.
Fortunately there were no clashes and the protest was halted at 5 AM.
There’s deadlock in efforts to resolve the industrial dispute. Unions and management are not changing their position. Work minister Dermagne has appointed a mediator.
Cédric Claeys: “There haven’t been any social talks for a month now. At works councils Delhaize simply explains the plans as if we haven’t understood them. We have understood them all too well but want to see an alternative”.