During an extraordinary meeting of the Works Council, Compass Group Belgilux management announced the company’s intention to review its workforce in the coming months in order to align it to the new economic realities of the heavily impacted catering sector.

Compass Group Belgilux is active in the food services sector: it provides meals for in-house company restaurants, schools and the care sector, and is also active in event catering.

The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the closure of restaurants, the cancellation of events, a shift to distance learning, and a massive increase in telework have a lasting impact on Compass Group’s activities in Belgium. At this moment the consequences are such that company activities have been reduced to just 25% of normal levels.

Research and analysis show that the restart of activities will happen only very gradually. Uncertainty reigns with many of our customers (companies, institutions, care centers…) and they are also experiencing pressure to reduce costs. At the same time, the number of people simultaneously present at any one site will be limited.

“Expectations are that activities will reboot very slowly and we will only achieve 75% of the turnover of reference year 2019 by autumn 2021”,” says Bart Matthijs, Managing Director of the company.

“Despite the measures we took, we are still facing structural losses. The schemes for temporary and economic unemployment somewhat alleviate pressure, but many fixed costs continue to weigh on the company. Our reduced activity does not suffice to cover these costs."

Temporary unemployment schemes will help somewhat in overcoming this difficult period and will go some way towards saving jobs, but in order to safeguard the company’s financial health, it has become necessary to take more structural measures. Management needs to take steps to increase the deployment of employees and to better align our workforce to the expected activity for the coming year. This forces Compass Group Belgilux nv/sa to envisage reducing the number of jobs by 550 in the coming months.

Bart Matthijs: “With the announcement of these restructuring plans, we are formally launching the procedure ‘Wet Renault’”. In the coming days and weeks we will have a series of intensive consultations with our social partners and we will do our utmost to ensure this restructuring will be carried out in the most socially acceptable manner.”