Almost five years after the Kaiser’s Tengelmann branches were taken over by Edeka, tensions arise again between employees and the new owner in a central warehouse in Nieder-Olm in Rhineland-Palatinate. Edeka now apparently wants to close the old Kaiser’s Tengelmann warehouse – despite the fact that the food retailer had to promise to “sustainably continue” the warehouse when it took over in 2017. On Wednesday some of the 70 employees in the central warehouse protested against the closure and for the preservation of their jobs.
This is particularly explosive because the warehouse in Nieder-Olm made headlines in 2018. The employees accused the company of putting them under “psychological pressure”, as NewsABC.net reported.
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 to date. As a result, the employees in the warehouse in Nieder-Olm, according to their own statement, had nothing to do for almost a year. NewsABC.net 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 now to NewsABC.net. 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 warehouse lease was not extended from January 1, 2021, so we have to get out at the end of this year,” says an employee of the central warehouse. 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.
Edeka denies the allegations, but confirms discussions with the works council
In response to a request from NewsABC.net, Edeka headquarters defends itself against the allegations: “We cannot understand the allegations, and they also do not correspond to the facts. In the past we have made various attempts to make the Nieder-Olm location more flexible and competitive. ”The company does not name which attempts these should have been.
The company is currently examining various options for the future of the location and is in talks with several parties. Edeka also confirms that specific dates have already been agreed and confirmed with the works council for April in order to discuss possible further steps. As NewsABC.net learned from the Verdi regional group manager Monika di Silvestre, Edeka agreed after the protests on Wednesday to negotiate a possible reconciliation of interests and a possible social plan in these talks.