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After "psycho-pressure" accusation: Edeka camp in Nieder-Olm has to close

  • Edeka will close an old Kaiser’s Tengelmann central warehouse in Nieder-Olm without any alternative. Around 70 people lose their jobs.
  • The employees of the central warehouse and the works council have been protesting for years to keep their jobs, most recently in March of this year.
  • The news is so explosive because the warehouse workers accused Edeka as early as 2018 of exerting “psychological pressure” on them and deliberately running down the warehouse. Edeka denies the allegations.

Almost five years after the Germany-wide takeover of Kaiser’s Tengelmann branches by Edeka, a remaining central warehouse in Rhineland-Palatinate will be closed for good at the end of the year. The Hamburg parent company Edeka informed the works council of the warehouse in Nieder-Olm in writing. Verdi confirms the information.

This news is so explosive because the warehouse in Nieder-Olm made headlines in 2018. The employees accused the company of putting them under "psychological pressure", as Business Insider reported. Time and again there were tensions between employees and the new owner. In March, some of the 70 employees in the central warehouse protested against the closure and for keeping their jobs - in vain, because the decision seemed to have been made for a long time. "We employees are disappointed, pissed off and angry at Edeka," says one employee on behalf of the workforce.

In order to explain this conflict, it is necessary to take a look at the past: Edeka was allowed to take over Kaiser's Tengelmann in 2017 - as a condition, however, was imposed on the food retailer by the then Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) that Edeka had the structure and networking of all companies and branches of Kaiser's Tengelmann takes over and sets them up so sustainably that they can continue to exist and function economically even after the five-year ministerial permit (moratorium).

In 2018, the warehouse employees raised serious allegations against Edeka

Three months after the takeover by ministerial approval, in March 2017, Edeka changed the existing structure of Kaiser’s Tengelmann so that the central warehouse should no longer supply its 450 branches - as was usual up to now. As a result, the employees in the warehouse in Nieder-Olm, according to their own statement, had nothing to do for almost a year. Business Insider reported in 2018 on allegations of "psychological pressure" that Edeka allegedly exerted on the workers in the central warehouse by not giving them any on-site employment for almost a year. In extreme cases, the employees are said to have had so little to do that they slept on the empty shelves. The employees accused Edeka of violating the moratorium and the collective agreement negotiated between Edeka Kaiser’s Tengelmann and the Verdi collective bargaining commission. Edeka denied the allegations at the time.

After the workers publicly expressed their criticism at the time and several media reported about it, the situation on site had initially improved in recent years, says the responsible Verdi regional group manager Monika di Silvestre to Business Insider. In April 2018, Edeka signed a service contract with Edeka Südwest Gesellschaft and Edeka Weinbergkellerei. These contracts - and with them the employment guarantee for warehouse workers - are now running out.

The two service contracts were terminated on December 31, 2021, the storage rental contract was not extended from January 1, 2021. The landlord is already looking for a new tenant for the warehouse from January 2022 and has advertised the 30,000 square meter property for rent on its own website.

As one employee reports, according to the Edeka site management, the warehouse has apparently made millions in losses from year to year. The workforce accuses the Edeka managers of having done nothing to be able to operate the company economically in the long term and only "artificially kept alive" until the moratorium expired. "We ordinary employees now have to pay for the failure of the Edeka managers with the loss of their jobs," he says.

In talks between the employers' side, works council and the Verdi union on April 22nd and 26th about a reconciliation of interests and a possible social plan, there were no further employment offers. According to Verdi, the works council was informed that the warehouse employees could apply for any vacancies that can be found on the company's website - but they would not receive preferential treatment.

Edeka denies the allegations

Edeka headquarters defended itself on an earlier request from Business Insider: “We cannot understand the allegations, and they do not correspond to the facts either. In the past we have made various attempts to make the Nieder-Olm location more flexible and competitive. ”The company does not specify which attempts these should have been.

So far, Edeka has not responded to a current request from Business Insider about the prospects of the location and the employees. Further appointments have been made with the works council and Verdi for mid-May in order to continue negotiating the reconciliation of interests. The Verdi regional group manager Monika di Silvestre says: “We expect the employers to have done their homework by the next negotiation date on May 12, 2021, as well as the personnel planning for the next 1 1⁄2 years in the company and the individual jobs that are currently through Temporary work is occupied. ”With the help of this information, Verdi and the works council hope to be able to negotiate possible continued employment prospects for the employees.

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