The judge has determined that Picnic, an online supermarket, does not have to treat their employees in the same way as other supermarkets do. Picnic is an online supermarket that only deliver their groceries. Other Dutch supermarkets, like the Albert Heijn and Jumbo, must adhere to the collective labour agreement. Picnic also sells groceries, but the webshop does not want to be a supermarket. The labour union FNV had filed a lawsuit against Picnic, because the FNV thinks that unfair competition will arise. The other grocery stores have to pay, for example, a surcharge to employees who work in the evenings or during the weekends. Picnic does not have to pay such surcharges, so it does not seem to be a fair situation. Employees of the firm think that the work pressure is too high and they think that the work environment is not safe.
Picnic has another kind of organizational structure compared to the other grocery stores. Picnic consists of multiple limited companies of which only one firm is an online supermarket. The judge has determined that only this firm must adhere to the collective labour agreement. The other companies do not have to adhere to the agreement, because they are concerned with, for example, the development of the app or the delivery. As a consequence of the judgement, nothing changes for Picnic, because the company already paid these employees corresponding to the collective agreement. According to Niels Jansen, a labour lawyer, the labour union FNV is still able to win the lawsuit in higher appeal. He thinks that it is unrealistic that only fifteen employees operate the supermarket. Another chance for the FNV and the supermarkets to improve the situation in their advantage, is that they can formulate in the next agreement more broadly which companies should adhere to collective labour agreement.
The company Picnic was established in 2015. It started in Amersfoort and in the meantime, the firm has settled in 33 different places. Picnic also delivers groceries with a small number of cars in Germany. The company has raised €100.000.000 in 2017 by rich Dutch families. One of these families had invested earlier in Kruidvat. Picnic made a loss of €45.500.000 in 2017, but according to Michiel Muller, co-founder of Picnic, that was a consequence of huge investments to grow. The company has grown enormously in recent years. The sales volume has doubled in 2018. According to Muller, the company is so successful because they can be compared to the dairyman from the past.
An advantage of ordering at Picnic compared to other supermarkets is that the delivery of Picnic is free of charge. The minimum order amount is €25, while the minimum order amount is €50 when you want to order groceries at the webshop of Albert Heijn. Picnic also takes into account the environment. For example, they delivery the groceries by driving electric cars. Furthermore, little food is wasted, for instance, the breads are freshly baked. A disadvantage is that the assortment is smaller compared to the assortment of other grocery stores. The online grocery store sells the same products, but it supplies less different brands of each product. Though, it ensures that the app is clear. This year, Picnic was praised for being the fastest growing company of the Netherlands. In the meantime, the firm has already 200.000 customers. Tens of thousands of persons are on the waiting list. The list of fast growing companies is compiled by the Rotterdam School of Management and the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship. Picnic stays ahead of other fast growing such as the Action, Coolblue, Adyen and Basic-Fit.
By: Kelly Veldman