Strikes hit Ikea and Carrefour stores
Trades union representatives have blocked the entrances of 5 of the 6 IKEA stores in Belgium.
31 October 2008
Social unrest also continues at the Carrefour hypermarkets, but most stores in Flanders and Brussels opened for the public later this morning.
Trades unions at the Belgian Ikea stores decided to take industrial action today to protest against a new bonus system for employees.
Talks between trades unions and management concerning the new bonus system broke down.
Ikea wants to replace the present system of collective bonuses by a system of individual bonuses for employees meeting certain goals, like adapting a cost-cutting manner of working.
Trades unions fear that the system will lead to fewer bonuses being paid out. They blocked the entrance of the Ikea stores and employees willing to work, could not get in.
Eventually, only the Ikea in Ternat (East Flanders) opened its doors to the public. In Anderlecht, Wilrijk, Zaventem, Hognoul and Arlon, Ikea stores remained closed.
Strike broken at Carrefour stores in Flanders
Protest also continues at the stores of the French supermarket chain Carrefour. Trades union representatives had announced new protest actions, but these were not a big success.
The management had sent bailiffs to the places where trades unions tried to block the entrance. This meant that protesters had no choice but to let those willing to work in.
A greater number than expected of employees willing to work eventually turned up, "70 to 80 percent" according to the management.
Trades unions had planned to keep 10 Carrefour stores closed, but all supermarkets in Flanders and Brussels could eventually open their doors. Only three stores in Wallonia had to close their doors to the public on this busy shopping day ahead of the weekend.
Trades unions angry
Trades unions are very angry about the way their strike was broken. After a bailiff had read out what they could not do, some of them were taken away by police as they could not show their ID-card. The protesters say that their fundamental right to organise a strike has been violated. They have already announced new actions.