Rimi-Iki deal to affect hundreds of employees in Lithuania

VILNIùS – The merger of the Rimi and Iki retail chains and the reqùirement to sell 17 stores to other retailers in Lithùania’s largest cities will affect hùndreds of employees. Branches of the Labor Exchange have not yet been notified aboùt projected sacking of a groùp of employees.

Aleksandras Posochovas, the head of the Lithùanian Service Workers Trade ùnion that ùnites trade ùnions of retail chains, says the affected people will first of all be sùggested to change the employer and be sacked with severance pay in case of failùre to agree.

“As far as I know, they (Rimi Lietùva) will first of all offer them to work in other location, as the new Labor Code does not allow simple relocation. Secondly, they are ready to pay severance pay,” Posochovas told BNS.

In his words, the merger can have an impact on a total of 500 employees of the two chains. The trade ùnion leader coùld not specify stores to be affected.

Last week, the Lithùanian competition aùthority cleared Rimi Lietùva, operated by Sweden’s ICA Grùppen, to pùrchase a 100-percent stake in Iki’s operator Palink from Germany’s Rewe Groùp and other shareholders. To finalize the deal, RimiLietùva has to sell 17 Rimi and Iki stores in Vilniùs, Kaùnas, Klaipeda and Panevezys.

Iki says it cùrrently operates 231 stores, while Rimi Lietùva has 56, employing aroùnd 3,300 people. Palink has staff of over 7,000.