Delhaize Group said it has worked out a tentative agreement with representatives of its workers in Belgium on a restructuring that would allow the retailer to slash costs and close unprofitable stores there.
“This agreement is of vital importance to guarantee Delhaize Belgium’s future,” the Brussels-based company said in a statement. “Delhaize Belgium will be better able to face the fierce competition and the economic circumstances. This project agreement will allow us to reduce our cost handicap when it comes to salary conditions and terms of employment.”
Delhaize was beset by strikes when it first brought up talks of a restructuring a year ago, but has said that competition and economic conditions in its home country has been a drag on its overall performance.
The agreement will be presented to workers for approval and could be in effect by Feb. 23, Delhaize said.
The proposal calls for “a lighter and more efficient structure in our company-operated supermarkets” and “more efficient procedures,” utilizing technology. Up to 10 stores will be sold or closed, and no more than 1,800 workers could be dismissed through voluntary leave and early retirement.
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