Dutch online supermarket group Picnic does not have to pay all its staff in line with the pay and conditions agreement for the traditional supermarket sector, judges in Amsterdam decided on Tuesday.
But some 15 members of staff, who work for the unit which specifically focuses on selling food and other goods to consumers, should fall under the nationally-agreed pay deal, or CAO, the court said.
The FNV trade union took Picnic to court for refusing to pay staff according to the nationwide supermarket pay deal. It says this means workers are paid €2 a hour less than they should be – a move which has saved Picnic almost €10m.
It also says Picnic is unfairly competing with other supermarkets, pointing out that Albert Heijn and Jumbo, which also run online retail operations, do have to pay staff in line with the supermarket cao.
Picnic, however, says it is a webshop and that its distribution centres are not supermarkets. The company is structured as 10 separate limited companies and just one of these units runs the online supermarket.
The other nine, which employ by far the most of the Picnic workforce, focus on distribution, storage or website and app development, and do not have to pay in line with the national pay deal, the court said.
The FNV said in a reaction to Tuesday’s ruling that it is considering an appeal. ‘We agree pay deals so that workers in the same sector enjoy equal pay,’ said spokeswoman Zakaria Boufangacha.
At the end of last month, Picnic has raised €250m in funding to develop a new, largely automated distribution centre which it hopes will come on stream within two years.
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