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Belgian supermarket strike confirmed

Published on 04/05/2004

4 May 2004

BRUSSELS – Strike action will close hundreds of supermarkets and department stores across Belgium on 19 May, a day before the annual Ascension public holiday, it was reported on Tuesday.

Trade unions have called the nationwide strike in protest at calls from supermarket owners to be allowed to open for longer hours.

The unions are particularly angry at suggestions that more Belgian supermarkets and department stores should be allowed to open on Sundays.

Fedis, the Belgian storeowners’ lobby, on Tuesday criticised the unions’ action.

It insisted it was willing to address any issue employees might have with the proposals on new working practices and said the unions were being obstinate.

“The Federation deplores the unions’ reaction. By answering the government’s request to make its views known on this issue, the Fedis is in no way threatening any existing agreements on working practices,” it said in a statement.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news