Sainsbury’s drivers on Merseyside to walk-out in pensions row tomorrow

Sainsbury’s drivers on Merseyside to walk-out in pensions row tomorrow

Nearly 200 drivers at the Sainsbury’s distribution centre at Haydock on Merseyside will walk-out for two hours tomorrow (Friday 20 June) in a dispute which could see some of them lose tens of thousands of pounds from their pension pots.

The drivers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, are angry that the highly profitable supermarket chain closed its final salary scheme in September 2013 and is now offering an inferior savings plan. The union said the disruption caused would be ‘substantial’.

Unite national officer for road transport, Matt Draper estimated that some of the drivers could lose ‘tens of thousands of pounds from their pensions pots’, while the company’s pre-tax profit for the year to 15 March rose by 16.3 per cent to £898 million.

Such is the anger of the approximately 1,700 drivers and warehouse staff at a further five distribution centres at Basingstoke, Elstree, Hams Hall, Rye Park and Waltham Point that they will be balloted for industrial action on the pensions issue shortly.

Matt Draper said: “Cash rich Sainsbury’s has said it wants a fairer scheme for all, even though the new scheme creates further division as management grades are able to enjoy better contributions from the company, while the lower paid long serving employees have seen their plans for retirement thrown into disarray.

“We want Sainsbury’s to get around the negotiating table, so that our members have the opportunity to enjoy the same level of company contributions to their pensions that top managers now enjoy. We want to end this ‘them and us’ attitude pension provision.

“We also want enhanced compensation for the drivers who have lost out big time when the final salary pension scheme closed.

“Our members are furious that their potential retirement income has been savagely ripped away from them by a retail giant that that is coining in massive profits.”

A total of 197 members are taking action at the distribution centre, Hall Wood Avenue, Haydock Industrial Estate, St Helens, Merseyside WA11 9WB. Members will be delaying coming onto their designated shifts by two hours. More such action is on the cards until there are negotiations.