Strikes continued at 14 Carrefour stores on Saturday

Strikes continued at 14 Carrefour stores on Saturday

Carrefour has hit out at “irresponsible” wildcat strikes by workers in Belgium while negotiations with unions remain ongoing.

Talks between Carrefour and officials at the Setca union had resulted in strikes planned for Saturday (22 May) at over 100 stores in Belgium being called off.

However, some 14 stores - six hypermarkets and eight supermarkets - did close. The union said the closures were due to the decisions of local workers.

Talks over Carrefour's proposals to restructure its Belgium operations continue as both sides seek to reach agreement over plans that have prompted strikes over the last three months.

In a statement, Carrefour said the closure of stores despite a deal to suspend the strike would only make future negotiations “more difficult”.

“Despite the withdrawal of the strike call by the union, 14 Carrefour stores could not open their doors. The management of Carrefour judge this irresponsible behaviour and regret that the union could not prevent these actions by sporadic regional representatives,” the retailer said.

Carrefour said it has already made several concessions and has “always advocated an open and constructive dialogue”.

“Carrefour Belgium can not accept these wildcat strikes while negotiating takes its natural course. The considerable cost of these strikes will, in one way or another, have to be charged,” the retailer added.

A spokesperson for the Setca union told just-food today (24 May) that the Saturday strikes were “spontaneous”.

“We had intended to close 117 stores initially but 14 stores [still] wanted to close and we did not stop them. We are not happy that there were strikes in those shops but it was a local movement,” the spokesperson said.

He said the union was is moving closer to an agreement with Carrefour but that there were still financial issues causing “concern”.

“To what amount we will agree, and how much [the union] will walk out of the room with is the question,” the spokesperson added.

Both parties will resume talks on Wednesday.