Unions lambast Morrisons over jobs threat

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The Independent Online

The struggling Wm Morrison supermarket group was accused of "underhand, dishonest and disgraceful" behaviour by unions yesterday after it warned that 2,500 jobs could be lost.

The review of the company's supply chain, which found that three depots may no longer be required, had been conducted without any involvement of the workforce, union representatives said.

The GMB general union had threatened to stage a three-day walkout from yesterday and a six-day stoppage from next Thursday over the group's alleged refusal to consult over job losses. The industrial action was postponed for seven days after management agreed to joint national talks with the GMB and the Transport & General Workers' Union.

The unions' fears were reinforced by the contents of a confidential management document which showed three sites to be specially vulnerable. The company confirmed that Aylesford, Kent, Bristol and Warrington were at risk of closure.

Jude Brimble, at GMB, warned that the strike due to start on Thursday was "very likely". She said the review had taken place without any involvement of the workforce or the unions. "Morrisons have conducted themselves in an underhand, dishonest and disgraceful way. They are the unacceptable face of big business. We believe that the review has been built on a conspiracy of deceit and deception which has as its object of policy the undermining of decent pay and conditions that apply at the depots to be closed. The company is obliged by law to have a consultation period with the workforce and the unions for 90 days prior to the announcement of closure."

Chris Noone, at Wm Morrison, said the group had assessed severaloptions during the review.

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