Unions representing Carrefour workers in France have suspended a call for nationwide industrial action tomorrow (30 April) following the retail giant’s agreement to open negotiations on wages.

Carrefour had tabled a pay increase of 1% in 2010, an offer rejected by unions, claiming that it represented the equivalent of EUR12 on an average monthly pay packet. 

The group had also proposed the introduction of an annual bonus, awarded on the basis of low absenteeism rates per store, an idea also strongly opposed by the unions, who have threatened action next month.

“Negotiations are scheduled to take place next week,” a spokesman for Carrefour’s biggest staff union, Force Ouvrière, told just-food yesterday.

“What management has put on the table so far on wages is totally inadequate and they need to come up with a significantly improved offer in order to resolve this dispute. Otherwise, we are ready to renew our call for strike action, with the middle of May a possible date and which could lead to Carrefour stores being block nationwide.”

Carrefour, meanwhile, faces strikes at its stores in Belgium tomorrow over its planned store closures in the country. Talks have been held this week between local unions and Carrefour's Belgian management but the two sides failed to reach agreement.