Hema could end workers' paid breaks: report

Dutch shop chain Hema no longer wants to pay employees for taking short breaks. According to a request of assent that the Hema has sent to the workers councils of bakeries, distribution centers and shop chains, breaks are to go the way of lunch hours, which Hema is already not paying for. 

Workers' hours will be expanded to make up for the lost hours. The Financieele Dagblad writes that the measure is necessary, according to the Hema, "to progress on the road to recovery."

Labour union FNV Bondgenoten says that Hema wants the measure to be passed per 1 October. The union states that bakeries and chains have two paid breaks of 15 minutes per day.

The measure is a collective labour agreement issue, that needs consent from the workers councils, FNV Bondgenoten emphasizes on their website.

Hema says that it is a matter of market conformity, and that in order to compete with other chains, they will have to stop paying through break time. Niels Suijker, manager of FNV, tells the Financieele Dagblad that this is nonsense. "I can also make a list of companies in the branch where breaks are paid."