Sainsbury’s faces drivers’ strike after “point blank refusing” to discuss pay dispute

Sainsbury’s distribution centre Unite union pay dispute
Sainsbury’s has been accused of “point blank refusing” to discuss the pay dispute with its members
// Sainsbury’s is involved in a pay dispute after drivers said they are paid £12,000 less than their counterparts
// The dispute involves 12 drivers who hired through outsourcing firm Harper & Guy Consulting
// The drivers threatened to stop working for 24 hours on December 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 and Boxing Day

Sainsbury’s has been faced with a pay dispute involving staff at its Waltham Abbey distribution centre in Essex, which could affect supply to stores in London and the south east.

The dispute involves 12 drivers, hired through outsourcing firm Harper & Guy Consulting.

The drivers have argued that they are receiving £12,000 a year less that their counterparts who are employed directly by Sainsbury’s.

READ MORE: Sainsbury’s to extend opening hours as Christmas nears

They have now threatened to stop working for 24 hours on December 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22.

They also said they will stop working for 24 hours from 6pm on Boxing Day, which could affect about 100 Sainsbury’s branches, according to Unite union – which represents the drivers.

The union said Sainsbury’s and Harper & Guy had “point blank refused” to discuss the pay dispute with its members.

“What we have here is one of the most flagrant cases of pay parity injustice that I have been involved with,” Unite regional officer Paul Travers said.

“We feel that that Harper & Guy Consulting is hiding behind Covid-19 as a flimsy excuse not to engage in pay talks for 2020 and the glaring pay disparity issue.”

Meanwhile, Unite national officer for road transport and logistics said that Sainsbury’s should intervene and “resolve this injustice before it suffers reputational damage as a result”.

Sainsbury’s has responded and said that it is aware of the dispute between Harper & Guy and a small number of its drivers which operate from the Waltham Point depot.

“We encourage both sides to keep talking and can reassure our customers that we have contingency plans in place to minimise any disruption this may cause,” Sainsbury’s said.

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