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Carrefour: No agreement yet on reported scaled back job cuts, store closures

Carrefour SA's Belgian unit said it has sent a proposed agreement to its "social partners" but has not yet signed a definitive agreement, amid reports that the company has reached an agreement with trade unions to limit job cuts and store closures.

"We haven't signed any agreement yet," a spokesman for Carrefour Belgium NV said in an emailed statement to S&P Global Market Intelligence. "A proposal of a protocol of agreement has been submitted to our social partners and we expect a return from them by the end of the week."

Retail Detail, citing a report by Belgian newspaper La Libre, reported June 13 that Carrefour Belgium has agreed to scale back its planned job cuts to about 1,000 workers from a previously expected 1,233 job reductions and refrain from closing two stores that reportedly had been on the chopping block.

The reported decision comes several months after Carrefour Belgium was said to be cutting more than a thousand jobs due to planned closures of its hypermarkets in Genk and Belle-Île in Angleur, according to a Retail Detail report Jan. 25, citing a restructuring plan disclosed by CEO Alexandre Bompard.

Carrefour Belgium will also reportedly not enact straight dismissals and instead provide job cuts through voluntary termination of employment and early retirement of staff ages 56 and up.

The reported agreement also includes a clause outlining employees' rights to 95% of their former wages when they file for an early retirement from the age of 56, according to Retail Detail. This reportedly has been criticized by Belgium's Minister for Work Kris Peeters, who has said the measure sends a wrong signal to workers who choose to continue to work, as well as to companies who are seeking to hire new staff.