The organic supermarket is the alternative to a discounter, Here one buys with a good conscience, here there is sustainability and fairness. And the market share of organic supermarkets in food retailing is growing. According to a study commissioned by the Federal Association of Natural Foods Natural Products, the number of these supermarkets has increased by 130 percent in the past seven years, throughout Germany. More than € 10 billion was spent on organic food last year.
But by no means everything with the big organic chains is fair. Again and again there are reports that just these employers treat their employees bad. Again and again, the growth-oriented organic companies are making headlines, for example because the founding of a works council is being prevented.
As in the case of Alnatura, the industry second among organic chains. Employees of a Bremen branch in 2015 wanted one here works Council establish. Many in the team of then 20 employees allegedly complained about overtime and unfair pay, says Sandra Schmidt, union secretary at ver.di in Bremen. It would have been the founding of the second works council at Alnatura, only in Freiburg there is one more since 2010. As a result, the employees could also found an overall works council for the entire company – for a stronger networking among the branches. To date, however, there is no works council at Alnatura in Bremen. Instead, the Federal Labor Court has already dealt with the case.
Employees have left companies
Former employees of Alnatura accuse the company of having already prevented the appointment of an election committee, which organizes a works council election. The company in turn claims that the majority of employees in the Bremen branch did not want a works council, and refers to an open letter from some employees. The legal dispute has been going on for years, and most of the employees who wanted to found the works council are no longer in the company. They have signed severance agreements or their contracts have not been renewed. (You can read a detailed case reconstruction here.)
Despite these events, the careers network Xing Alnatura has just been awarded the New Work Award as a good employer. The prize is awarded to companies that focus on flexible working, flat hierarchies and no fixed salary structures. For the management of Alnatura a nice thing: "We believe in the self-responsibility of our employees and that is probably the reason that there was only in a single market the desire for a works council."
Even the market leader Dennree, who runs the 's organic markets, had some obstacles until the employees had a stronger say. But soon there will be a works council foundation. Recently, an electoral board was successfully elected to organize a works council election for its 850 employees at the company headquarters in Töpen in Upper Franconia.