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Is Sainsbury’s Plans To End Paid Breaks Beginning Of Americanisation Of UK Employment Contracts?

Asda is owned by American company Wallmart which has the worst employee relations records of all US Companies in the supermarket industry.

Not only did we see the immediate sale of American food items such as Beef Jerky following the buying of ASDA by Wallmart, several years ago, but the first imports of American beef products which are full of anti-biotics and hormones.

The Government have also made it clear that they detest the Workikng Time Directive and that it will be one of the first casualties of worker's rights legislation repeals after Brexit.

Now, with the £12 billion merger plans between Asda and Sainsbury’s the ending of paid breaks to all staff in the UK owned supermarket is being put into newly enforced contracts in September this year. This of course follows Wallmart’s way of treating it’s workforce – no paid breaks and even in cases where local contracts inlude them!

The effects upon the health, safety and welfare of their employees is of course ignored by so many US businesses and profit is put before the welfare of staff. The pressure to work through non-paid breaks given most staff are on minimum wage, is obvious.

Workplace stress is the number one course of ill-health in the UK and this will add further to a working environment that comes close to ‘slave-labour’.

We already have a situation in the UK were employees are working through their lunch breaks, many unpaid when they do so, due to work pressures, lack of staff, and performance targets. Now it seems this is the thin edge of the wedge in attempting to remove paid breaks from UK workers.

If this is allowed to happen it will send UK business a message that unpaid breaks are the norm and acceptable to bring in new and mandatory contracts where existing paid breaks are abolished.

Pic Labour MP Siobhan McDonaghHowever, Labour MPs are demanding that Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe be hauled before a parliamentary committee over his plans to end paid breaks for thousands of workers; reports The Morning Star:

Mr Coupe, the supermarket giant’s chief executive, faces the prospect of having to explain himself over forced contract changes amid the company’s £12 billion merger with Asda.

Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh has written to fellow Labour MP Rachel Reeves, who chairs of the Commons business select committee, demanding that Mr Coupe be pressed for answers.

In her letter, Ms McDonagh said the “plight” of Sainsbury’s workers must be heard by the committee.

She wrote: “I ask that you consider a formal summons for Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe to appear before the committee to explain how he can justify slashing the pay of 9,000 of his most long-standing and loyal staff.”
The corporation plans to issue new staff contracts in September, with a number of key clauses of the previous contract being omitted.

While basic pay is being increased, premium rates for Sunday and paid breaks will be scrapped. meaning that each workers stands to lose around £400 a year.

Last week, more than 100 MPs wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May demanding that she speak to Mr Coupe to “ensure that no staff will face a pay cut.”

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “We appreciate that a minority of colleagues do not stand to benefit from these plans.”

Source: Morning Star / unionsafety / The Independent



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