Eke / NazarethThe employees of the Makro supermarket in Eke (Nazareth) spontaneously stopped work on Friday morning. The reason for the strike action is the rumors about a possible sale of the Belgian Makro and Metro branches by the German parent company. “There has been uncertainty for years and now the management is giving us no clarity”, says Andy D’haeseleer, employee and union representative for ACV Puls.
The customers of the Makro in Eke were standing in front of a closed door this morning. At around 9:30 am, the cashier staff spontaneously stopped work and the other employees quickly followed suit. The store opens its doors at 7.15 am and the customers who were still present were further assisted by temporary workers. Outside, dozens of employees gathered at the entrance, the drive-in and the staff entrance. A clear signal to the management of Makro, who have been keeping them in the dark for several days about a possible sale of the Belgian Makro and Metro branches by the German parent company.
The newspaper ‘De Tijd’ wrote on Wednesday that the distribution group is working on the sale of its Belgian branch, but according to the unions, the management denies this. At the same time, they also received signals that the news would be correct. “There were rumors about a sale in the past, but they were always denied,” says Katrien Degryse, secretary of BBTK. “Now the management will neither deny nor confirm the rumors and this is causing a great concern among staff. On Thursday evening there was a local works council with the three trade unions in front of the branch in Eke. The staff already gave a clear signal that they no longer want to take it and eventually a spontaneous strike broke out this morning. We fully understand that, because this situation is not human.”
A total of just under 300 people work in the supermarket in Eke. Beginning of September 2020 the staff also laid down all the work. The reason was the company’s vision for the future, which, according to the unions, will result in a higher workload among the staff. According to Andy D’haeseleer, trade union representative of ACV Puls and employee of Marko Eke, this also plays a role. “I’ve been working at Makro for 27 years and I’m active in the bakery,” says Andy. “This action is the result of a combination of circumstances because the concern has been dragging on for a long time. For example, permanent employees who leave are not replaced; and open vacancies are only filled by temporary temporary workers. This creates a higher workload, especially during busy periods such as the holidays. The recent reports of a sale have detonated the bomb. I am pleased that so many employees are here to express their displeasure.”
According to Katrien Degryse, there is no prospect of further consultation with the management yet. “We will first listen to the concerns of the staff and then we hope for more clarity soon.”
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