Call for Sainsbury’s to redeploy supermarket counter workers under threat

Unite has called on Sainsbury’s to redeploy its 500 members whose jobs on deli, fish and meat counters are under threat, following today’s announcement by the supermarket giant that it is cutting 3,500 jobs.

Unite said that it was ‘deeply disappointed’ by the news affecting its members working on these counters, which have been closed since the first lockdown in March, and called for urgent talks to explore redeployment opportunities within Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

It is understood that the redundancy notices for the counter staff will be issued in March next year and come into effect in May 2021.

Unite national officer for the food industry, Bev Clarkson, said: “This is very disappointing news for our 500 members working on the deli, fish and meat counters.

“We are seeking urgent talks with the management to explore deployment opportunities within Sainsbury’s, given the supermarket’s sales have risen since the first lockdown in March.

“Hopefully, the supermarket can reopen some of these counters, closed since March, once the COVID-19 restrictions are eased and a vaccine comes on stream.

“Sainsbury’s needs to engage more constructively with Unite going forward as this news came ‘out of the blue’ without the detailed consultations we would expect from such an established and well-known company.

“This is very grim news for our members and their families in the run-up to Christmas, and we will be giving them maximum support during this worrying and uncertain time.”