Union warns contract cleaners dispute could spread across UK

Unite the union has today (16 March) slammed union busting tactics at a major distribution depot in East Kilbride which supplies Sainsbury’s stores across the UK.

Unite members working for DHL Services Limited at Langland Park depot are being balloted on strike action following a decision by Sainsbury's to transfer workers to the cleaning and facilitates management NIC Group who fail to recognise trade unions .

The ballot on industrial action opens on 22 March and closes on 6 April.

The workers have also been informed by the NIC Group, pending the transfer, that they will receive no wage rise this year despite the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Unite is warning Sainsbury’s that it faces ‘significant reputational damage’ and the East Kilbride dispute risks spreading to other UK depots if the transfer goes ahead.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “The decision by Sainsbury’s to transfer unionised workers in East Kilbride to the NIC Group, who fail to recognise collective bargaining rights, is shameful. In effect, Sainsbury’s, in this instance, is involving the good name of the company in anti-trade union practices. Simple as that. The company must know that Unite has to oppose this. Time to think again or this dispute could spread across the UK.”    

Sainsbury’s is expected to make close to £690m in pre-tax profit when its full-year results are announced this month, despite ongoing inflationary pressures.

Willie Thomson, Unite industrial officer, added: “The way Sainsbury's has discarded the workers in East Kilbride is disgraceful. It’s a slap in the face from Sainsbury’s. Many of our members have given long service through the DHL contract.  Now they face seeing hard won terms and condition being ripped up. Rest assured that this dispute will cause Sainsbury’s significant reputational damage because Unite is determined to hold them to account for their decision to transfer the cleaning contract to the NIC Group.”