Carrefour Express stores in Belgium will stay open

Carrefour Express stores in Belgium will stay open

Carrefour has hit out at the "deplorable" actions of union officials in Belgium after talks between the two sides failed to stop plans for a strike tomorrow (30 April).

The retailer, which is looking to restructure its business in Belgium, this week entered into fresh negotiations with unions unhappy at the company's plans.

Amid union pressure, the world's second-largest retailer has already revised its programme, first announced in February, to close 21 stores in Belgium.

Carrefour is now proposing to close between seven and nine of its shops and has also insisted that it plans to spend EUR300m (US$398.1m) on upgrading its remaining stores.

However, union officials remain unconvinced by the plans and have argued that Carrefour is more interested in cutting costs than investment.

Setca claims Carrefour plans to lower wages and the union insists it is seeking more information on the retailer's plans to close between seven and nine stores.

Talks between Carrefour and the union have failed to prevent tomorrow's planned industrial action, which could hit around 120 of the retailer's Belgian stores.

A spokesman for Setca told just-food that Carrefour still wanted to reduce its wage costs by EUR33m a year. He added that no further information had been given on a proposal for local company Mestdagh Group to buy 20 Carrefour stores.

In a statement, Carrefour Belgium insisted it was not true that the company wanted to lower wages.

The retailer called on the unions to withdraw plans for a strike, although it noted the action will not affect all stores, as some outlets are run by independent operators.

Fresh talks will be held next week.