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02 December 2020
The retail sector has been one of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result employers therein might be considering dismissing employees for economic or technical reasons. Employers must be aware that most joint committees in the retail sector have entered into collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) obliging employers to first take measures to avoid dismissals and, if dismissals cannot be avoided, to comply with a specific procedure. This article highlights the most important points that employers must consider.
The five most important retail-specific joint committees are:
Joint Committees 202, 311 and 312 have entered into a CBA that provides for additional obligations and specific procedures with which employers must comply with regard to anticipated dismissals for economic or technical reasons. Employers in Joint Committees 201 and 202.01 need not comply with any additional sector-specific requirements.
This article focuses on the sector-specific procedures in the case of dismissals for economic reasons that are in addition to any general obligations under national law. It will not discuss other dismissal procedures in the concerned joint committees (eg, dismissals for serious cause or professional incompetence).
On 19 February 2014 Joint Committee 202 concluded a CBA (this CBA does not apply to the medium-sized food companies that are part of Joint Committee 202.01). The CBA's key points are as follows:
In the event of re-employment, priority must be given to the redundant employees in reverse order to that in which they were dismissed.
Joint Committee 311 enters into a CBA – including a specific dismissal procedure – every two years, with the most recent one being the CBA of 23 September 2019. This CBA entered into effect on 1 January 2020 and expires on 31 December 2021. Its key points are as follows:
If these obligations are not complied with, the employees concerned after their dismissal will be re-integrated in the company.
For the above measures, employers must inform and consult with the works council or, failing that, the trade union delegation.
On 19 February 2014 Joint Committee 312 concluded a CBA on this topic. The key points of this CBA are as follows:
For further information on this topic please contact Annabel Coopman at ALTIUS by telephone (+32 2 426 1414) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The ALTIUS website can be accessed at www.altius.com.
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