John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“This announcement has come as a shock to staff and puts them in a period of great uncertainty. We are seeking urgent meetings with both retailers to establish the details of their plans and ensure that the voice of the staff is heard.
“We note the employers are saying there are no plans for store closures due to the merger, which is welcome, but that is often not the case through these processes. It may be that further down the line they find other reasons to close stores, so we will be monitoring the situation very closely.
“The deal will have to go through the Competition and Markets Authority and they often require stores to be sold off where the new combined company is over-represented in a particular geographical area.
“There are also distribution workers who aren't protected by a promise not to close stores. Both companies operate significant nationwide distribution networks employing thousands of staff. We will be seeking urgent clarification on the future for those workers and guarantees for their jobs.
“This shock announcement over the weekend and today’s confirmation pose many more questions than answers. Usdaw is providing the advice, representation and support that our members require at this difficult time.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion