'Scrooges' | Sainsbury's told staff 'work overtime or take unpaid leave' or NO Christmas bash

Sainsbury's told staff 'work overtime or take unpaid leave' or NO Christmas bash

A Sainsbury’s store has come under fire for telling staff they would have to work longer or take unpaid leave to attend their work’s Christmas party, Stoke Sentinel has reported.

Workers at one of the supermarket’s branches in Hanley, Stoke, were reportedly told that because they were only entitled to 30 minutes paid break per shift, they would need to make up the lost time to attend the one-hour in-store colleague Christmas lunch.

An internal flyer, seen by Stoke Sentinel, read: "The sittings are an hour long. Whatever time you use over your break you will need to either make up or have as unpaid. Please inform us of your decision."

Managers have now reportedly reversed their decision after receiving huge backlash from staff and customers, who branded the move as “ludicrous” and “scrooge-like”, particularly given the fact that the store in question is due to close next year.

One customer said: "It’s a bit harsh. It’s going back to Scrooge with that sort of behaviour."

"At Christmas time they should show a bit of goodwill, especially after working through the pandemic as front-line workers."

A former employee commented: "This is a pretty shabby way to treat people who are about to lose their jobs."

A Spokesperson for Sainsbury's told The Sun: "We have listened to our colleagues’ feedback and will be updating the plans at our Hanley store to ensure all colleagues can enjoy their Christmas celebrations during their break."

'Acting like Scrooge’

Though the Christmas party furore relates only to one specific store, it is the second year running that Sainsbury’s has come under fire over a festive faux pas.

In December 2020, The Mirror reported that the supermarket was slammed by union bosses for its decision to open up stores on Boxing Day.

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At the time, representatives from the Unite trade union accused the firm of putting “wealth above the wellbeing of its workforce” after the retailer revealed plans to open between 10am and 5pm on December 26th last year.

In addition to this, the union accused the chain of “acting like Scrooge” after extending its hours leading up to Christmas, saying staff deserved “a well-earned break” after tough conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite opening as planned on Boxing Day 2020, Sainsbury's recently announced that it would be closing all stores on December 26th 2021, as reported by Wales Online.

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