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Prominent actions in H&M stores

Between the announcements of closures and job losses, the social situation is tense at H&M. The CNE has filed a strike notice.

The tone has gone up a notch at H&M. The CNE, which deplores having no vision on the announced closures and the impact on employment, announced the filing a strike notice.

“Physical stores remain important to H&M, but we want to move closer to new customer requirements.”

Between November 2020 and January 2021, 8 store closures have been announced. The CNE fears that “the management will continue to close stores in a pearl fashion in 2021 and 2022 to avoid a much more legally binding ‘restructuring plan'”.

“New customer requirements”

Last October, H&M announced its intention to close some 250 stores around the world. The Swedish group wants to develop an experience combining both physical stores and online commerce.

“Physical stores remain important to H&M, but we want to get closer to new customer requirements, who no longer want, for example, to comply with opening hours to make their purchases, “insisted Marianne Nerinckx, spokesperson for H&M Belgium-Luxembourg.

“At the rate that stores are closing, it will no longer be possible to save a job when a store closes at H&M.”

Calendar of actions

For the time being, negotiations between management and unions have not been successful. The severance pay proposed are considered insufficient. “In the proposed plan, a more restrictive procedure is missing to save as many jobs as possible through internal reclassifications. At the rate where stores are closing, it will no longer be possible to save a job when a store closes its doors at H&M “, fears the CNE.

Of assemblies will be organized in the coming days with planned work stoppages in several stores. Days ofnational actions are also on the program.

However, the actions will probably be confined to the Walloon and Brussels stores because the Flemish wing of the Christian union has reached an agreement with the management of H&M. “We decided to sign the social plan because we absolutely wanted to have a framework for store closures, which, we fear, are still likely to happen”, explains in substance Jörgen Meulders, of theACV Puls. “This is’agreements on what happens when a store closes, for example concerning voluntary departures from neighboring stores. “

The socialist union Setca also approved the social plan, confirmed union official Mary-Anne Smeets. “We presented the plan to the staff and received a mandate. The social plan is supported by the grassroots.”

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