Unions want job guarantees over merger

Asda in Hindley. Pic: Google Street View
Asda in Hindley. Pic: Google Street View

Unions are demanding reassurances from supermarket chiefs that a proposed merger between Asda and Sainsbury’s won’t cost jobs.

The two supermarket chains yesterday agreed terms for a £12bn union, setting the stage for one of the most audacious deals in British retail history.

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The duo - the UK’s number two and three supermarkets - said that the unified group would have combined revenues of £51bn and boast a network of 2,800 Sainsbury’s, Asda and Argos stores.

The combined supermarket expects to lower prices by around 10 per cent on products customers buy regularly.

Unions have raised fears over the prospects for employees, especially - as is the case in Wigan and Leigh - Asda and Sainsbury stores are often quite close together.

Unite has called for “guarantees on jobs” and demanded sit down meetings with senior bosses at both Sainsbury’s and Asda.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, the former business secretary, said the CMA “must investigate” any deal, with shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey echoing the call.

The merger would have to be approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Sainsbury’s insists there will be no store closures and chairman David Tyler said: “We believe that the combination of Sainsbury’s and Asda will create substantial value for our shareholders and will be excellent news for our customers and our colleagues.

“As one of the largest employers in the country, the combined business will become an even greater contributor to the British economy.”