Unite has accused Sainsbury’s of ‘acting like Scrooge’ by insisting that staff come in on Boxing Day after working extended opening hours in the run up to Christmas.

Sainsbury’s has agreed to operate reduced 10am to 5pm opening hours on Boxing Day. However, its supermarkets will be open to customers from 6am until midnight between Monday 21 December and Wednesday 23 December. 

Unite said Sainsbury’s, which expects to bring in before tax profits of £270 million in 2020, of putting ‘wealth above the wellbeing of its workforce’.

The union called on Sainsbury’s to give its staff, who have worked in difficult conditions throughout the pandemic, Boxing Day to rest and spend time with their families after working extra hours in the days before Christmas. 

Unite also demanded that Sainsbury’s ensure measures are in place for staff to be able to get safely home after midnight when public transport is much more difficult to access.

Unite national officer Bev Clarkson: “In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge begrudgingly gives Bob Cratchit Christmas Day off but demands he be in on Boxing Day. By refusing to give their workforce – many of whom, like Bob Cratchit, will have worked until late Christmas Eve – a well-earned break on Boxing Day, Sainsbury’s are acting like Scrooge. Putting wealth before the wellbeing of its workforce certainly doesn’t chime with Sainsbury’s warm-hearted Christmas ads currently running on TV.

“Sainsbury’s should embrace the Christmas spirit by recognising their staff have worked hard throughout the pandemic, on top of working extra hours over the festive period, and give them Boxing Day off. Scrooge learns that somethings are more important than the pursuit of riches: Sainsbury’s, who have made lots of money this year, should follow suit and give staff a well-earned break with their families. They should also put in place measures to ensure staff working until after midnight in the run up to Christmas can get home safely.”

ENDS   

Notes to editors: 

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

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: ryan.fletcher@unitetheunion.org

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