More collective redundancies in coronavirus year 2020

Since 2011, the Federal Public Service for Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue has published quarterly statistics on collective redundancies on their website. The number of collective redundancies announced at the end of September 2020 is already remarkably high: 6,811 workers. Compared to previous years, this is a clear increase. The coronavirus crisis is making itself felt, as expected, in the loss of jobs.

Calm before the storm in first quarter: 879 job losses announced

In the first quarter of 2020, there were ‘only’ 7 announcements of collective redundancies by technical business units. In March, not even a single announcement was made. A possible explanation for this is that the companies were then in full procedure of the social elections and by definition there is some reluctance to implement a restructuring.

One case stands out: Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced the collective redundancy of 720 jobs in early February.

COVID-19 – and probably the postponement of the social elections – makes itself felt in second quarter: 3,624 job losses announced

In the following three months, four times more job losses were announced than in the first quarter! June takes the crown, with half of the companies announcing collective redundancies and almost half of the announced job losses. Some examples of job losses from this quarter:

– Brussels Airlines: 950 jobs

– Catering company Compass Group in Brussels: 550 jobs

– Brantano group: 287 jobs

– D’Ieteren in Brussels: 211 jobs

– Metropole hotel in Brussels: 129 jobs

– Samsonite: 94 jobs

The automotive sector alone has faced almost 500 redundancy announcements during this period.

Coronavirus strengthens grip in certain sectors in third quarter: 2,290 job losses announced

Despite the summer months, there were also many announcements of collective redundancies in the third quarter: in July 620, in August 728 and in September 942 workers. In particular, the hospitality, transport, (petro)chemical and metal processing sectors have been taking blows. Some examples of job losses from this quarter:

– Sodexo: 373 jobs

– Ryanair: 172 jobs

– Belgomilk in Schoten: 162

– Railway caterer Railrest: 158 jobs

– Continental Automotive in Mechelen: 140 jobs

– Catering company Aramark in Auderghem: 134 jobs

Renault Procedure Act saves jobs again

Of the initial employees involved in an announcement of the intention to make collective redundancies in the 44 technical business units that completed their information and advisory procedure in the period from January 2020 to September 2020 inclusive, 3,154 employees were hit with collective redundancy instead of 3,349 after the information and advisory procedure. This means that, thanks to the mandatory internal consultations between the employer and the unions as part of the Renault procedure, in the end 195 jobs were saved. However, this calculation should take account of the fact that, 30 days after notification of the draft collective redundancy, the employer may proceed with the actual dismissal of the workers concerned. The 30-day period may either be shortened or extended to a maximum of 60 days. We will therefore not know the final figures for the third trimester until later on.

Source: Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue

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