// Workers at Sainsbury’s Waltham Point warehouse to hold second round of 24-hour strike on July 25
// More than 100 staff took part in an earlier strike in June
// The strike is over a dispute over changes to its absence policy
Workers at the Sainsbury’s distribution depot in Waltham Point poised to go on another strike over an ongoing dispute regarding changes to the retailer’s absence policy.
The next 24-hour strike is slated to take place on July 25, according to a statement from trade union Usdaw.
It comes after more than 100 staff from the site held a strike on June 27. It is not clear if the same number of staff will take part in the second strike.
The Waltham Point depot – located near the M25 in Essex – is the largest of 23 operated by Sainsbury’s, employing over 1200 people and covering over 700,000sq ft.
Usdaw divisional officer Nigel Scully said Sainsbury’s would not negotiate the changes to the absence policy for employees on the site.
“Usdaw is frustrated and disappointed that the company are still not prepared to discuss the key issues we cannot agree on and have been unable to come up with an acceptable offer regarding the attendance scheme on site,” he said.
“Individuals do get ill and/or injured and need to be in a position where they can recover without having to worry whether they will be getting paid.
“The company’s changes mean that our members, including many who have given significant years’ service, could quickly end up without any sick pay, meaning that financial worries are likely to be added to any other issues they are going through.
“This industrial action is a last resort following many meetings where we have tried to work with the company to find an agreement.
“We continue to call on the company to enter serious negotiations and ensure that our members have adequate sick pay provisions in line with other staff across the Sainsbury’s estate including our retail members.”
However, a spokesman from Sainsbury’s said the absence policy at its Waltham depot was only updated following a comprehensive consultation process with colleagues and Usdaw lasting over two years.
The spokesman added that they were “disappointed” when an agreement was not reached, despite all current colleagues having signed the new terms.
“We have contingency plans in place to minimise any disruption this may cause our customers,” they added.
Last year, the Big 4 giant announced it would increase 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.