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Belgium: Delhaize franchise transfer completed

Despite a union organised campaign of strikes and blockades opposing the March 2023 decision of Ahold Delhaize to move its remaining stores in Belgium to a franchise model, is to proceed the last 21 shops will be transferred to independent owners by the end of the year.

The bigger picture: The position of the unions raised the question: Who decides on how a business should be organised? Management or the unions/employees? 

The bottom line... Clearly, there is a limit to what unions can do and in Europe’s social market economy it is ultimately management which decides how a business is to be organised and run.


Additional Material:

Background: In March 2023, the Dutch supermarket group, Ahold Delhaize announced that the remaining 128 stores in Belgium which it ran directly were to be franchised, impacting some 9,200 workers. The company already had about 800 franchised shops in the country.

The unions representing the 9,200 workers opposed the transfer and demanded that Ahold keep the shops in direct ownership and the retain workers as employees. The unions staged strikes, blockades, and demanded the intervention of the political authorities to block the move. 

But… to no avail, as this week Ahold announced that the last 21 shops will be transferred to independent owners between now and the end of the year.


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Authors: Tom Hayes

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