A group of activists from UNI’s Dutch affiliate FNV held a “New Year’s reception” in front of Lidl’s headquarters in the Netherlands to demand a better collective agreement. The union presented management with a New Year card urging thecompany to negotiate an improved collective agreement. Lidl workers are fighting for an agreement that places less pressure on overworked employees, provides a decent pay rise, and wins better working conditions.
In the Netherlands, Lidl has transitioned from a discounter into a full-service supermarket chain, but this change has caused an alarming increase in workplace pressure for workers. According to a recently issued FNV report titled “Code Red Workload”, 72% of Lidl workers experience an extremely high workload — much higher than the national average of 52% who report similar conditions.
The report also reveals that a whopping 20% of Lidl employees report regular unpaid work and 87% confirmed that the workload has increased in the last few years. The heightened workload has led to many health and safety concerns, including workplace accidents and injuries.
FNV submitted the report to Lidl, but it was roundly ignored by management. In response, FNV collected more than 500 signatures in support of the report and workers’ demands for a reduced workload and better rights at work.
Fatma Bugdayci-Karatas of FNV said that the pressure placed on workers at Lidl is unsustainable and called on the company to take urgent action: “You have to find a way to reduce the pressure on your workers! Lidl is growing in the Netherlands, but workers are overworked and feeling the strain. We need a better collective bargaining agreement, a decent pay rise and extra staff to lower the impact of higher workloads on Lidl employees.”
“We fully support FNV’s dedicated fight for a reasonable workload, better working conditions, and a good collective agreement,” said Mathias Bolton, Head of UNI Commerce. “As the top retailer in Europe and in the top five globally, Lidl needs to do better. “
Owned by Schwarz Group, Lidl is a German-based multinational grocery chain that operates in 32 countries at global level, 29 of which are in Europe. Lidl employs around 300,000 workers in 10,786 stores and 167 distribution centres.