Usdaw statement on Sainsburys acquiring 13 Safeway stores and one Morrisons

Date: 14 May 2004

Usdaw, the shopworkers' union, will seek to ensure its members interests are placed high on the agenda with the sale of 14 stores from Morrisons to Sainsbury's.

Sainsbury's confirmed today that it has agreed, subject to the approval of the Office of Fair Trading, to acquire 13 Safeway stores and one Morrisons store.

As a condition of granting approval earlier this year for Morrisons to buy Safeway for £3bn, the competition authorities ruled that Morrisons had to sell 53 stores in areas where it would have an anti-competitive share of the market. The 14 stores which Sainsbury's wants to acquire are all among those that Morrisons had agreed to sell to abide by this ruling.

Joanne McGuinness, Usdaw National Officer, said the union was in a good position to negotiate through the transition period on behalf of its members in the 14 stores as it has national agreements with all of the companies involved - Sainsbury's, Safeway and Morrisons.

Joanne McGuinness said: "It has been a long period of uncertainty for our members in the stores that Morrisons has to sell. Depending on the 14 acquisitions being approved, Usdaw will seek to hold immediate talks with the companies to represent our members throughout the transfer to new ownership.

"At this early stage, it is important for our members to be aware that there are employment regulations which protect workers' terms and conditions when there is a takeover such as this. Usdaw will urge the companies to ensure workers are kept fully informed as the transition period unfolds."

Notes to Editors:

  • The 13 Safeway stores which Sainsbury's has agreed to acquire are: Mansfield, Notts; Whitehouse Farm, Stockton, Cleveland; Chafford Hundred, Essex; Tadcaster, North Yorks; Cramlington, Northumberland; Scunthorpe, Humberside; Team Valley, Tyne and Wear; Spalding, Lincs; Scarborough, North Yorks; Grantham, Lincs; Darlington, County Durham; Heaton, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear; Lytham St Anne's, Lancs. The one Morrisons store is Ripon, North Yorkshire.
  • Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth largest union, with over 330,000 members. Most members work in retail, but the union does have members in transport, call centres, home shopping, food manufacturing, chemicals, dairy process and other trades.
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