MP quizzes Minister about the merger of 
supermarket giants

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Hugh Gaffney
Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Hugh Gaffney

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department has been quizzed about the £15bn merger of Sainsbury’s and Asda and asked if it will benefit customers and staff or simply boost profits for shareholders.

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Hugh Gaffney pressed BEIS Minister Sam Gymiah in the Commons on what assessment has been made of the impact of the merger on the companies’ combined workforce of 330,000 people.

Mr Gaffney said: “The incentive for this merger is clearly cost-cutting, but what about the human cost?

“A third of a million British workers rely on these companies for their livelihoods and a business decision on this scale deserves proper scrutiny by the Government.

“I fear that the overriding concern for the Tory Government is simply profits over people. I am not reassured by Mr Gymiah’s attempt to wash his hands of this issue as a purely commercial matter.”

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, added: “Hundreds of thousands of workers stand to be affected, and all know such announcements tend to be followed by management speak like ‘rationalisation’ in the name of ‘efficiency’.

“What that usually means is job losses or cuts to pay, terms and conditions which would be wholly unacceptable.

“It is quite right to be asking now in whose interests this proposed merger is being tabled. Is it workers and customers or the shareholders and speculators?”