Retailer can force shop floor staff to make up some hours lost during lockdown
Dutch clothing store Wibra is allowed to force its employees to make up for some of the work hours they missed during the lockdown, the court ruled. The trade union FNV had previously asked for a ban on the compulsory catch-up to be introduced, NOS reported.
Employees having more flexible working arrangements with the clothing retailer will be affected by the decision. They were able to work fewer hours than stipulated in their contract during the lockdown period when most of the shops remained closed for months.
The court has found that Wibra has acted according to the collective labor agreement. "It only concerns 40 minutes per employee in the remaining 35 weeks of 2021. That is not unacceptable. The FNV wrongly accuses Wibra that it did not act as a good employer."
The FNV has argued that Wibra should not impose the obligation, partly because they received government support during the pandemic. Furthermore, the system of minus and plus hours should only be applied to the lockdown period, FNV said.
The labor union also expressed concern that while the court ruling notes that workers owe an average of 40 minutes of unpaid work time, there are many that could be told they owe much more. "We have received reports of forty, fifty or more than a hundred hours that employees have to make up this summer," said FNV director Linda Vermeulen. The trade union stated it was still studying the ruling and was considering "further legal" action.
Vermeulen has also stressed that the ruling only proves their current labor agreement is not good enough and needs modifications. "The collective labor agreement is one of the worst collective agreements in the country," she said.
Scheduling must be done following consultations and there must be a limit on the number of hours that can be made up, the ruling stated. The company said they were in talks with the employees to waive part of the accrued undertime hours after all. "This will be done in close consultation with the works council," the company stated.