Asda boss claims jobs in Falkirk are safe ... for now

Asda's depot in Grangemouth
Asda's depot in Grangemouth

GMB Scotland says a boss’s statement over 1000 local jobs are safe for the moment offers “no comfort” as more details emerge about the proposed merger of Asda and Sainsburys.

The union warned Asda its assurances jobs are “safe – for now” will offer worried staff no comfort whatsoever.

According to the GMB, staff across Asda retail and distribution operations – which includes Asda’s two Scottish distribution centres in Falkirk and Grangemouth, employing over 1000 people between them – were told this morning by local managers the merger plan with Sainsbury’s will offer no immediate threat to their employment.

The union added Asda chief executive Roger Burnley earlier informed staff he “does not anticipate closing any stores” and that an investigation into the merger by the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) may not produce its findings until “the second half of 2019”.

GMB Scotland organiser Bob Deavy said: “We’ve been inundated with calls from worried Asda staff. There is no comfort whatsoever in being told your employment status is merely ‘safe for now’ when you have families to feed and mortgages to pay for.

“Asda senior executives can spin this merger any way they like, but the reality is they have offered no guarantees about jobs. Business models will change and the CMA will most likely not allow the status quo to remain.

“Something has to give when giants collide and our challenge to Roger Burnley is straightforward – tell us what your vision is for our members’ jobs, terms and conditions in the year 2020 after the dust settles on this merger.

“After weeks if not months of negotiations with Sainsburys in the shadows, without any consultation with the workers or their trade union, and given the serious implications this could have on the Scottish economy, it’s time we had some honesty.”

The proposed merger deal was revealed on Saturday. Asda and Sainsburys have a combined workforce of 360,000 people and the merged company – if the deal goes ahead – would push Tesco aside to become the UK’s biggest private sector employer.