'No Moroccans': Labour inspectorate must put an end to discrimination by supermarkets

16 July 2009

'No Moroccans': Labour inspectorate must put an end to discrimination by supermarkets

SP Member of Parliament Sadet Karabulut is urging Social Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner to send the labour inspectorate to deal with supermarkets who discriminate on the basis of race or age. Her question came in the wake of revelations that Servex, the firm which operates major supermarket chain Albert Heijn's 'AH to go' station subsidiaries, has instructed managers at some branches not to hire Moroccan staff or anyone over the age of 17. In the Netherlands, minimum wages are lower for very young workers.

Sadet Karabulut“That supermarkets discriminate on the basis of age was already well known and totally objectionable. But that some branches are also looking to select staff on the basis of their ethnicity is just too much,” says Karabalut.

According to the SP Member of Parliament, supermarkets have for many years been getting rid of employees as soon as they reach an age where they must be paid a higher rate. In addition, young people over a certain age who apply for jobs are not taken on. “That's pure discrimination,” she says. “The same goes when it comes to not hiring people of foreign origin. Discrimination is not allowed in this country. The government must act.”

Albert Heijn must, in Karabulut's view, reflect the whole society, and is therefore pleased that the supermarket chain has distanced itself from the exclusion of Moroccans, blaming Servex, a subsidiary of Dutch national rail operator NS. Yet, she says, “AH has forgotten something here. I haven't heard from them that they will also abandon age discrimination. It would be good if the minister were to carpet their senior management and let them know that this won't do at all.”

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