A strike is taking place as a union common front this Saturday in all Sports Direct stores in Brussels and Wallonia, reports the CNE. The staff of the British brand, which has 37 branches in Belgium, is opposed to the management’s desire to drastically reduce hours in stores.
Almost all of the 21 Sports Direct stores in the capital and in the south of the country were kept closed on Saturday morning. Only three were still open at 10:00 am, details Jalil Bourhidane, CNE permanent. One in Arlon and two in Brussels, City 2 (where a picket line has been installed) and Drogenbos. Staff assemblies are held there and the workers have decided to join the movement, the unionist said shortly before 1 p.m. However, the action was not followed in Flanders, where the chain has 16 stores. There are indeed not enough strikers in each of them to force the various branches to close their doors.
“After two days of negotiations, we are going in circles. We see that we have no answers to our questions on a great many points. It is for this reason that the workers have decided to go on strike today”, explains the trade unionist. The “drastic” reduction in the number of hours in stores is at the heart of this social conflict. “We want a transparent, sustainable hours system that is adequate to the needs of each store as well as a very clear perspective on the future (number of stores, locations, etc.). No renaming of commercial leases should be made without having discussed this beforehand with the workers’ representatives “, considers Jalil Bourhidane.
Staff are also going on strike to demand a reduction in working hours (32 hours in 4 days / week) without loss of pay. The workers also find it “essential” that a professional person in Belgium be responsible for liaising with the various owners, prospecting or analyzing store needs or customer requests. Sports Direct employs around 450 people in Belgium, a majority of whom are young people with precarious contracts, further denounces the permanent secretary CNE. The stores are expected to reopen on Monday, but other days of action are possible depending on management’s reaction, he warns.