Anger over supermarkets sackings

Supermarket giant Morrisons was today accused by union leaders of sex discrimination over payouts to staff it is making redundant, three decades since landmark equality laws came into force.
The GMB union claims women employees of Morrisons supermarket will receive only one third the redundancy pay of male colleagues when they lose their jobs in the New Year.
And it called on Morrisons to “do the decent thing” and grant them the same severance package.
The union said, “The 175 employees at a finance centre in Crossgate, South Shields, most of whom are female, will receive statutory redundancy pay plus an enhancement of £75 for each year of service.”
Male colleagues at Morrisons depots in Aylesford, Kent, and Warrington will receive three times the statutory amount plus a £1,000 lump sum.
Around 130 female staff are being made redundant and today the union vowed to take every case to employment tribunals claiming sexual discrimination.
The retailer dismissed allegations of sex discrimination as “irresponsible and unfounded”.
The Sex Discrimination Act came into force exactly 30 years ago tomorrow and was supposed to eliminate different treatment of male and female workers.
The GMB’s Martin Gannon said: “On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Act, sex discrimination is alive and well.”
Martin Gannon said, “Morrisons, which took over Safeway, are trying to make female staff in South Shields redundant on only a third of the redundancy money that they have agreed to pay the mainly male staff being made redundant in the warehouses.”
“GMB urges the public tomorrow on the 30th anniversary of the coming into force of the Act to make clear to Morrison store managers that this is unacceptable.”
He added, “The reasonable and decent thing to do is pay the women the same terms as their male colleagues.”
A spokesman said: “Any decisions that the company may make in respect of the finance centre at Crossgate will affect both male and female employees alike.”
“Accordingly, the implied accusation that the company’s treatment of employees at Crossgate is directed at female employees is both ill-informed and misconceived.”
He added: “As a result of our takeover of Safeway in 2004, we inherited a number of distribution centres, whilst the finance centre at Crossgate was formerly operated by Hewitts, before being brought in-house.
“We will fully honour the contracts, agreements, statutes and policies that we inherited from those two companies.
“Consultation on potential redundancies at our finance centre at Crossgate is being handled by senior management in accordance with good practice and in collaboration with recognised trade union USDAW-SATA.”
In October, Morrisons posted the first loss in its 106-year history after it was hampered by the cost of integrating Safeway.
The Bradford-based group said the conversion of Safeway stores to the Morrisons format cost £90.7 million in the 25 weeks to July 24, contributing to it plunging £73.7 million into the red.
In all, 2,500 redundancies were announced in September as part of a re-organisation

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