The strike at Albert Heijn’s distribution centers in the Netherlands also has “little impact” on Belgian stores. In the aisle with cleaning products, for example, in some stores every now and then there is a hole in the shelves.
Dutch trade unions organized strikes at Albert Heijn’s warehouses for more than a week, in order to force, among other things, a more generous wage increase. Dutch supermarkets have been suffering the consequences of this for a few days.
Belgian Albert Heijn stores are also being supplied from distribution centers in the Netherlands, but they are not affected at the moment. Until now, because the strike is also beginning to affect Belgian customers. By itself, a few distribution centers are still functioning well, according to the Belgian spokeswoman for the supermarket chain. As a result, there is only a “minimum inconvenience” in the shops in our country.
“The aisle you see best in some stores is the aisle with cleaning products, laundry products, etc. There is a gap now and then in some stores, but certainly not in all stores,” says Anne Mace. The feeling of this feeling increased, it still seems.
Dutch unions continue to strike
Dutch trade unions FNV and CNV have now received an official wage offer from Albert Heijn of 10 percent for distribution center employees, says FNV director Levin Zühlke-van Hulzen. However, according to him, this is still a reason to resume collective bargaining talks with the supermarket company. “The strikes will intensify. The basis for further discussion is that working conditions do not deteriorate. The trade unionist says that Albert Heijn does not fulfill this precondition.
Earlier in the day, Albert Heijn and the unions argued over whether or not the company had made a formal wage offer. The supermarket group reported that the unions had rejected a new wage offer, but according to the unions, no formal offer was ever received. A spokeswoman for Albert Heijn, by the way, contradicts that the unions only received the offer today. According to her, the offer was already made by phone on Monday evening.
Unions have said for some time that one of the conditions for continuing talks is that employment conditions for new employees must not deteriorate. Albert Heine, for example, wanted to lower the Sunday allowance. We have said all along that we do not agree to any deterioration. In doing so, Albert Heijn creates a division between employees already hired and new employees,” says Zoelke-van Holzen.
Increasingly visible in the Netherlands
Meanwhile, according to the FNV, there is also a major strike at the distribution center in Tilburg. “It’s completely flat there now. Four of the five distribution centers are almost completely empty now,” says the union official. This is becoming increasingly evident in the company’s Dutch supermarkets. It is sometimes seen, for example, that the fruit and vegetable shelves and the bread shelves are more empty than usual. It also happens that the Dutch lose products with a long shelf life.
A spokeswoman for Albert Heijn hopes to be able to speak to unions again soon in order to resolve the dispute. “This is extremely upsetting to our customers and colleagues,” the spokeswoman said.
The strike began nine days ago after negotiations over a new collective agreement stalled. Employees of Albert Heijn’s distribution centers want higher wages to offset high inflation. According to the unions, the supermarket is offering very little wage increase. They ask for at least an additional 10 percent.
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