V&D staff propose smaller wage cut

The employees of V&D and La Place are willing to accept a 2 percent wage cut, the lawyer for FNV and CNV said in the summary proceedings before the Amsterdam court this morning, AD reports.

The unions are in court because they disagree with the 5.8 percent mandatory wage cut that V&D wants to impose on its employees. According to the lawyer, the pay cut would be extremely disadvantageous for the employees as they would have to give up 200 to 300 euro per month. The pay cut also only saves the department store about 11 million euro per month.

The unions pointed to the deal that V&D and owner Sun Capital made with the landlords and banks last week Monday, in which they put 130 million into the warehouse. "V&D consultant and lawyer Willem Jan van Andel reported afterwards tat the financing for V&D was secured for years" the lawyer said according to AD. The department store also put an full page advertisement in the newspaper which said "On to the next 127 years."

The unions state that V&D negotiated with all stakeholders except the employees. The unions claim that they proposed a compromise of a 2 percent wage cut, provided that there are job guarantees and a good social plan. "The unions handed in that proposal on February 8th, before the deal with the landlords. V&D stated, however, that the wage cut is not negotiable."

The unions' lawyers argued that the wages - the primary condition of employment - can not be changed unilaterally. The unions also criticized the manner in which this happened in January, stating that the unions were not informed beforehand and had to find out from the press.

V&D will present its side of the case later today, in which V&D commissioner will give a presentation on the necessity of the wage cut. "There will have to be a long term solution, V&D's costs have to be reduced."