French owned supermarket chain Carrefour has been dealt a legal blow this week, one which recognises and supports the rights of workers and their conditions.

Following the liberalisation of shopping hours in Madrid in June 2012, the chain made the decision to open on Sundays and holidays, but apparently failed to negotiate a change in terms and conditions of the workers who would be expected to give up their time off in order to cover the extension in opening hours.

The Labour Chamber of the High Court of Justice of Madrid considered in judgement that that the company had increased the number of Sundays and holidays on which the staff had to work. In fact, according to the unions representing the staff, this changed the number of days from 22 to 63, which were originally classed as holidays, resulting in “a significant change in the working conditions of those affected”, which exceeded the “forecasts of the agreement”, and was therefore not adequately negotiated, according to the ruling.

Carrefour was not authorized by law to enforce such a unilateral “momentous change to family life” of its workers “as it required them to work more Sundays a year” than was part of the original conditions prior to the 2012 change in opening times.

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