Unions warn of job cuts and store closures at Asda

Threat of job losses at supermarket

The £15bn merger between Asda and Sainsbury’s could put 13 supermarkets in the North West at risk of closure.

The mammoth deal is set to take two years to complete but unions are warning that it could lead to thousands of job losses and closures across the region.

According to the GMB around 75 stores and distribution centres across the UK would be under threat.

If the merger goes ahead the new chain would be the biggest in the UK – overtaking Tesco – with £50bn sales and 2,000 stores.

The GMB has warned that competition watchdogs will force the new company to close stores in areas where it would have a monopoly.

The union say 75 Asda supermarkets and 11 distribution centres would be under threat. Thirteen of those are in the Greater Manchester area.

GMB national officer Gary Carter told The Mirror: “People are very fearful about their jobs and long-term prospects.

“Asda have said to us they are going to continue as a separate operation and there are no plans for store closures and changes.

“However, we’re concerned that where there have been mergers and takeovers within the retail sector in the past it has resulted in stores being sold and rationalisation within the distribution and head office functions.”

Mr Carter spoke after meeting bosses at US-owned Asda to seek assurances over possible job losses and store closures.

He told The Mirror: “It seems Sainsbury’s are very much in the driving seat and our Asda members are seeing it as a takeover.

“I am sure Sainsbury’s and Asda will want to retain their market share but equally we want to make sure jobs and livelihoods are protected.

“People want long term job security but it’s likely to be up in the air for quite a long time.”

A spokesman for Asda said: “Asda and Sainsbury’s will continue to operate as two separate retailers, and this proposed merger offers a great deal for customers.
“There are no planned store and depot closures as a result of the proposed combination”.

Breakdown of potential closures

North West 13
Yorkshire 9
West Midlands 8
North 5
East Midlands 3
South East 17
South West 11