In Brussels, telecom workers invade cafes and harass some employers

Come to the cafe and telecommute to avoid electricity bills at home. In a country hit hard by inflation, which hit 11% in September – and especially the explosion in gas and electricity prices – more and more Brussels residents are deciding to adopt this technique.

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But this trend is far from to the liking of all coffee shop owners. “The table is called quarters!”, annoys Eric Robert, owner of a large restaurant in the Saint-Gilles district of Brussels. “They come with their PCs and backpacks all day. Mostly people who drink alcohol and are going to stay for four or five hours“, he explains. His establishment, with its wooden, cozy and pleasant decor, lends itself well to teleworking, and this kind of behavior didn’t cause him any problems until a few weeks ago.

Today, Eric Robert says he was affected by his own success. “We’ve had a very busy few weeks. We completed 45 PCs at this location two weeks ago.He observes. There is still no room for people who want to eat.”

“There are more PCs than people can eat, it’s just not possible.”

Eric Robert

At franceinfo

According to him, the reason telecom workers migrated from their living room to the cafe is beyond doubt. With electricity prices nearly doubling in a year, its customers want to save money above all else. “When they are asked the question: ‘Have you been there long?’ They tell us ‘yes, we come to work here, it’s better than at home’ and it’s obviously cheaper.”, says the boss. So he made a decision:We have from to break

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Suppression must first attempt to terminate the teleworker. To do this, Eric Robert significantly increased the volume of music played continuously in the cafe, with the idea of ​​encouraging it, even if it was difficult to talk and concentrate. But some have found the parade and put their helmets on their ears.

Another weapon used by the boss: cut wifi and internet connections! But eventually he changed his mind and chose education. Employees warned customers that computer use is prohibited from 11 am and from noon to 3 pm. A quantity that customers may not always understand. “I don’t think that’s the right place for that“, says Celine, a bit surprised.We planned to eat here, but we left“, says Caroline, a teleworking colleague. The boss, he is straight in his shoes: his electricity and gas bills have also increased sharply. It has gone from 2,000 to 6,000 euros per month in a year.

A Brussels cafe owner annoyed by the arrival of telework – report by Jean-Jacques Hery


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