BUSINESS

Chain stores seek to cut pay and increase hours for workers

El Corte Inglés, Carrefour, Ikea and Cortefiel among those seeking new collective agreement

The ongoing process of salary devaluation has reached some of Spain’s biggest chains. The employers’ association in the sector, Anged, has proposed to labor unions that employees should lose one of their extra payments as well as the bonuses they receive for working on Sundays and bank holidays.

They have also suggested that employees should work more hours over the year, and that their salaries should be directly linked to consumer spending — in the current climate of low demand that would, of course, lead to lower salaries.

The unions in the sector and Anged — which covers stores such as El Corte Inglés, Carrefour, Ikea, Cortefiel, C&A, Alcampo and Leroy Merlin — have returned to the negotiating table to hammer out a new collective agreement for the sector, which will be in force for four years.

“Complete break”

Anged also wants work schedules to be set from month to month, with companies having the right to alter those schedules at any time. For the unions, that request represents “a complete break” from any criteria of conciliation.

“Companies must accept that in the current economic climate they cannot expect to have the same profits as they enjoyed in the boom times,” said union representatives. “They can’t expect to consolidate those margins with the salaries of their employees.”

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