When Sainsbury’s announced it was opening on Boxing Day, some weren’t happy about it.
The supermarket giant has been accused of “acting like Scrooge” as staff members will have to work on the bank holiday day.
Union bosses have hit-out at the company's plans to open between 10am and 5pm on December 26 – after extending its opening hours in the run-up to Christmas.
Following objections, Sainsbury's has agreed to reduce its opening hours on Boxing Day.
But according to Stoke-on-Trent Live, workers must still work from 6am to midnight from Monday, December 21 to Wednesday, December 23.
For this reason, representatives at Unite have accused the company of “putting wealth before the wellbeing of its workforce”.
The union is calling on the supermarket to close on Boxing Day so staff can spend time with their families at Christmas after working in 'difficult conditions throughout the pandemic.'
Unite also demanded that Sainsbury's ensures measures are in place for staff to be able to get safely home after midnight when public transport is much more difficult to access.
Unite national officer Bev Clarkson said: "In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge begrudgingly gives Bob Cratchit Christmas Day off but demands he be in on Boxing Day.
“By refusing to give their workforce – many of whom, like Bob Cratchit, will have worked until late Christmas Eve – a well-earned break on Boxing Day, Sainsbury’s are acting like Scrooge.
“Putting wealth before the wellbeing of its workforce certainly doesn't chime with Sainsbury’s warm-hearted Christmas ads currently running on TV."
Bev added: "Sainsbury’s should embrace the Christmas spirit by recognising their staff have worked hard throughout the pandemic, on top of working extra hours over the festive period, and give them Boxing Day off.
"Scrooge learns that some things are more important than the pursuit of riches; Sainsbury’s, who have made lots of money this year, should follow suit and give staff a well-earned break with their families.
“They should also put in place measures to ensure staff working until after midnight in the run up to Christmas can get home safely."
Sainsbury’s insists it has done everything it can to accommodate staff who do not want to work on Boxing Day.
A Sainsbury's spokesperson said: "Our colleagues do a fantastic job and have worked incredibly hard this year.
“We are doing everything we can to give our colleagues Boxing Day off where they have asked for it and we will be reducing our opening hours for Boxing Day from 10am to 5pm for all our Sainsbury's supermarkets and Argos stores.
"This will allow all our colleagues to spend a little more time with their families, which we know is important to them, while enabling our customers to shop for the items they may need during the festive period."
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