“Invisible,” labor union ACV Puls calls the situation. The wages of about 160 managers and assistant store Krëfel have not been indexed. As a result, they lost their wages for years. For some people who have been employed for years, this involves back-to-back indicators that stack well together. They will also work overtime without additional compensation.
The situation emerged after a group of white-collar workers began asking questions out of dissatisfaction with the company’s low wages. “These are people who earn an average of 1,500 to 1,600 euros net, while easily working 50 hours a week,” says trade union leader Michel van Odenbosch.
He explained that employee wages consist of a fixed part and a variable part. They receive the fixed part every month as an advance. In addition, they get a variable quota based on the sales numbers they achieve. The stator should increase in line with the indexing, but according to the union, it didn’t.
Management: “We don’t understand this.”
Krëfel made a proposal to slightly raise wages in the future, but this was absolutely not enough for the employees. The union is now calling on the company to correct the situation and make up for lost wages over the past five years. The union goes to the labor court for this. “It has happened a long time ago that the company is not paying the value of the index,” Van Opdenbosch says. “But legally we can’t go back any further.”
Negotiations are now underway within the company about a new pay system that management wants to introduce. There is also a line through the premiums that store assistants receive for their sales. “The monthly installment is 200 euros,” says van Obdenbosch. “That’s a lot of money.” Management suggests a little more fixed wages, but that doesn’t make up for the premium loss. A reward system has also been proposed, but this does not offer any certainty.”
The union has yet to give notice of the strike, but it does not rule out individual actions. Krëfel has 74 stores in Belgium and employs 1,400 employees. The chain is owned by the French company Boulanger, which is part of the Molise family’s empire. Krëfel vehemently denies an error in pay.
“We don’t understand this,” the company said. The Social Inspectorate confirmed last year that we are paying wages correctly. We have requested that you provide us with the files in which there may be errors. But months later, we still haven’t received a single file.”
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