Authority investigating supermarkets raising salaries without collective agreement
Large supermarket chains increased the salaries of hundreds of thousands of employees by 2.5 percent this month, even though they haven't yet reached a collective bargaining agreement with the trade unions. The Authority for consumers and markets ACM is investigating whether they broke the law, NOS reports.
The supermarkets involved include Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl, and Aldi, among others. The supermarkets told NOS that they increased wages in anticipation of the new collective bargaining agreement.
The negotiations for a new collective agreement for supermarket employees started in September, but stalled over the wage increase. Trade union FNV wants a 5 percent increase and the union is currently taking action for that demand. According to a spokesperson, the union is having a hard time mobilizing supermarket employees for these actions because of the smaller increase their employers gave them outside the agreement. "Employees already think it is wonderful that they received this. We also think it is positive, but far too little," the spokesperson said to the broadcaster.
According to ACM, it is generally not allowed for employers to make joint agreements about remuneration outside the collective labor agreement. The supermarkets' actions raises questions and the ACM asked them for an explanation, the supervisor said.
Whether the supermarkets agreed with each other on this wage increase, is unclear. The supermarkets gave NOS mixed responses. Albert Heijn told NOS that the 2.5 percent raise applies to all supermarket employees that fall under sector organization VGL. Jumbo said that the 2.5 percent increase was its own decision to "do justice to the enormous commitment that our employees are making in these exceptional times". Aldi said that the large employers in the sector decided on this increase, in a letter to staff.