LKQ Belgium to lay off a quarter of its staff
Automotive parts distributor, LKQ Belgium, has announced its intention to lay off 108 people. This represents about a quarter of the staff. It has started the Renault procedure, and a works council will take place again this week. After approval by the works council, the plans will be executed in the period September 2020 to August 2021.
“The staff is really shocked,” confirms the Christian union CNE, but, for the time being, no actions are planned. The atmosphere is rather gloomy. LKQ took over automotive parts specialist Henrard and other satellite companies in January 2019. Since then, more than 50 people have already been laid off: 27 in September, 22 in April, plus other departures without replacement or layoffs here and there, according to the union.
LKQ Belgium, based in Vilvoorde, specializes in parts and consumables for automotive professionals. It is part of LKQ Corporation, the largest distributor of automotive parts in Europe. Its more than 20 branches in Belgium supply parts, paints, and tools to thousands of garages and private individuals. To the latter, LKQ’s QualityGarage and AutoFirst concepts might ring a bell.
The announced redundancies are part of a restructuring of the group’s activities. “LKQ Belgium wants to offer a structural response to a strongly changed market, which is becoming more and more professional and technical. And also to the uncertainty that Covid-19 has created in a sector that has been hit hard,” LKQ says in a press release.
In addition to the 108 jobs lost, two sites will close in Flanders (Ichtegem and Erembodegem), and the one in Namur will move. The management has proposed setting up working groups to manage the reorganization of each site.
On the other hand, LKQ Belgium wants to open two new branches to be as close as possible to its customers. One in the south of Brussels, and one in the province of Luxembourg. Despite the redundancies, LKQ says it wants to create 45 new jobs in the long term in the existing and new branches. It also wants to invest in a new professional training and experience center.