Concerns over the future employment security of the workforces at Sainsbury’s and Asda have been sidelined, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, warned today (Wednesday 20 February), following the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) report on the proposed merger of two supermarket giants.

Workers ignored

Unite, which represents over 12,000 workers at both companies, warned last May when the CMA originally announced its investigation that the voice of workers would be overlooked due to the UK’s lax takeover laws.

Today’s announcement by the CMA that the potential merger could push up prices and cut choice, fails to take account of the effect the merger will have on the workforce at a time of severe concern about food security and rising prices, due to Brexit uncertainty.

The CMA has said that there are two potential remedies either blocking the merger entirely, or ‘forcing the sale of “assets and operations’.

CMA failure

Unite national officer for the food industry Sue Pollard, said: “The CMA has totally failed to take account of the workforces which are the bedrock of both companies and whose hard work has made both companies such successful retailers.

“At a time of growing uncertainty about food security and rising prices, the government should have intervened and thoroughly examined how this potential merger will affect the food supply chain across the UK. Its failure to do so is a complete abdication of its responsibility.

“Unite has sought assurances from Sainsbury’s on jobs and stores, but any promises that are secured will become meaningless if the CMA orders the sale of stores and distribution centres. Such a decision risks being the worst of all possible worlds.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.


Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary