TGWU and GMB members are also taking on exploitation by supermarket bosses at Morrisons in the UK. On 10 August over 8,000 of the chain’s distribution staff received ballot slips on whether to take strike action over Morrisons’ refusal to engage in meaningful negotiations.
A particular point of friction has been job security, at a time when Morrisons is carrying out major restructuring of distribution after purchasing Safeway last year. The supermarket has told workers that it “cannot guarantee” any jobs beyond March 2006. Despite the precarious nature of its workers’ livelihoods, Morrisons has abjectly refused to carry out negotiations with unions over its strategy. A number of ancillary disputes, such as the possibility that work will be moved away from the Aylesford depot in Kent, and changes to bonus structures, have added to the tense atmosphere between bosses and workers.
GMB National Office Jude Brimble said that, unlike under the former Safeway regime, workers “cannot abide the chaotic Morrisons style that seeks to cut pay and corners and undermine the longterm stability of the company.”