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Morrisons Warehouse Workers Strike Over Pension Cuts

Morrisons Superstore

Nearly 1,000 workers at two Morrisons warehouses will strike for three days in response to proposed cuts in company pension contributions.

They claim the move could cost them up to £10 million annually.

Employees at the Gadbrook, Cheshire, and Wakefield, West Yorkshire sites, including stock controllers, cooks, canteen staff, and administrators who earn between £12 and £13 per hour, argue they stand to lose an average of £500 each year. 

This loss is due to Morrisons' plan to reduce its pension contributions while requiring workers to contribute more.

Unite, the union representing these workers, has criticised Morrisons for eliminating a long service pay award and increasing the pace at which goods must be processed in the warehouses. 

Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, accused the supermarket chain of exploiting workers, especially due to high debt levels, following a £7 billion takeover by US private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice in 2021.

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Graham said: “These unmerited changes to workers’ pensions will leave our members worse off every month. 

“Unite will not stand for such behaviour from any employer, let alone one like Morrisons who is raking in massive profits during a cost of living crisis.”

Previously, workers contributed three percent of their pay to pensions while Morrisons contributed 5 percent. 

This year, Morrisons has shifted to a four percent contribution from both sides.

“These unmerited changes to workers’ pensions will leave our members worse off every month

Morrisons argues that its total pension contributions will eventually increase due to forthcoming government changes to auto-enrolment rules. 

The company maintains that a proposed pay rise will compensate the shortfall in pension contributions.

“These unmerited changes to workers’ pensions will leave our members worse off every month"

Currently, workers earning less than £10,000 annually are not automatically enrolled in a pension scheme, and companies are not required to contribute to earnings below £6,240. 

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The government plans to remove these thresholds, necessitating universal enrollment. 

The timeline remains uncertain, pending a consultation report in the autumn.

Morrisons said the affected warehouses will continue operations at reduced capacity during the strike. 

“We have comprehensive contingency plans in place and are confident that our customers, stores, suppliers, and partners will experience minimal disruption,” a spokesperson said. 

They added that Morrisons remains open to further negotiations with Unite, highlighting new proposals, including a 9 percent pay increase, a new service award scheme, and improvements to future pension scheme changes.

The strikes at Morrisons follow similar industrial actions at Amazon and Asda warehouses over pay and conditions amid rising living costs and a tightened labor market.

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