// Sainsbury’s warehouse workers agree on strike after changes to absence policy
// Hundreds of workers to be involved in “series” of 24 hour strikes
// Usdaw urges Sainsbury’s to renegotiate policy offer
Staff at Sainsbury’s Waltham Point distribution centre have voted in favour of industrial action after a dispute over changes to the retailer’s absence policy, according to Retail Week.
Hundreds of workers at the gigantic warehouse will take part in the action, which will include “a series” of 24 hour strikes.
The depot is the largest of 23 operated by Sainsbury’s to service its stores, employing over 1,200 people and covering over 700,000 sq ft.
The decision comes after a ballot by 380 Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) members who work at the warehouse.
Almost three-quarters of union members that voted backed plans to walk out.
Usdaw said it hoped that the supermarket giant would “return to the negotiating table” with a “significantly improved offer” in order to avoid industrial action.
“Usdaw has engaged positively with Sainsbury’s in an effort to reach a compromise, but the company has so far failed to make an offer acceptable to our members. This breakdown in negotiations has forced Usdaw to conduct an industrial action ballot and our members have overwhelmingly backed a series of 24-hour strikes,” said Usdaw divisional officer Nigel Scully.
“It is deeply regrettable that the company has pushed our members to this point and we urge them to bring forward an offer in line with our members’ expectations,” Scully added.
“We have contingency plans in place to minimise any disruption this may cause our customers,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson told Retail Gazette.
Last year Sainsbury’s announced it would be increasing hourly pay for its store workers from a base rate of £8.00 to £9.20 per hour. For colleagues working in stores in Zones 1 and 2 of London, this will increase to £9.80 per hour.
Those increases came at the expense of paid breaks and bonuses, although workers have been promised another review of their pay in March 2020.