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Government rescues troubled Kaiser’s supermarket

German Finance Minister Sigmar Gabriel confirmed that an agreement has been reached to save troubled supermarket Kaiser’s Tengelmann, after the chain appeared to be heading for closure. There was a breakthrough in the negotiations on the future of the battered supermarket chain Kaiser’s Tengelmann. In a press conference at the Montagnachmittag, Federal Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) and Verdi CEO Frank Bsirske confirmed the agreement.

“15,000 salespeople, butchers, warehouse workers, drivers, administrative staff, and all other em- ployees of Kaiser’s Tengelmann can celebrate Christmas without fear for their jobs.” By November 11, Rewe would withdraw its complaints against the ministerial license. This would ensure their jobs for seven years. The heads of Tengelmann and Edeka and the competitor Rewe came together in a third round of discussion chaired by German Finance Minister Sigmar Gabriel. The conciliation talks were the last chance to prevent a break-up of the traditional supermarket chain. Without an agreement, according to Gabriel, up to 8,000 jobs would have been at risk.

On October 14th, the company had told employees to expect mass job losses across its 400 stores nationwide. But hope that a deal could unexpectedly be reached was revived when ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder stepped in to mediate renewed talks.

Rewe has now agreed to withdraw its lawsuit against the takeover by November 11th at the latest, dependent on an independent review of the cost of the sale. As part of the deal, Edeka has also guaranteed jobs for Kaiser’s Tengelmann’s 15,000 employees for seven years.

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