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SUPERMARKET chains Sainsbury’s and Asda were accused of “desperate and disrespectful behaviour” today after offering to sell off 150 stores to persuade the competition authority to allow them to merge.
The sell-off plan was submitted to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after the department ruled that the proposed £12 billion merger could not go ahead unless the chains divested themselves of some of their stores.
The companies responded with the offer to get rid of 150 stores, leaving thousands of employees facing an uncertain future.
Opposing the move general union GMB said the companies were prepared to put workers’ livelihoods at risk to get the merger accepted by the CMA.
GMB national officer Gary Carter said: “This offer to flog off 150 stores is both desperate and disrespectful.
“This is people’s lives and livelihoods we’re talking about and GMB openly opposes this move.
“It’s ironic both Sainsbury’s and Asda said they didn’t perceive store closures nor job losses when discussions about the merger took place.
“Their move today shows something quite different.
“GMB will fight to save members’ jobs and to stop this discredited boardroom deal.”
Shopworkers’ union Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “With the retail sector already struggling Usdaw’s priority is to prevent store closures, protect jobs and ensure a vibrant high street.
“So it is alarming that the CMA concerns over competition could lead to the loss of 150 stores, thousands of jobs and more holes in already struggling high streets.”
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