Morrisons representatives are due to sit down to talks with unions today in an attempt to avoid a national strike, after the supermarket confirmed it intended to close three distribution depots with the potential loss of 2,500 jobs.
The GMB and T&G unions had been planning to strike last Friday, but postponed the action after Morrisons agreed to recognise the unions on a national basis.
Morrisons is streamlining its operation following the £3bn takeover of Safeway, but unions said the plans to jobs raise questions about the viability of the merger.
Jude Brimble, a national officer at the GMB union, will be at the talks, which are due to take place at a hotel in Coventry. “We’re getting very worried,” she told the Daily Telegraph.
“It’s a very serious situation. We’ll be asking deep and searching questions about how they intend to fund this deficit. And if the liabilities are this big, it brings into questions the whole merger with Safeway.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the pension deficit in the Safeway scheme went from £230m to £304m in the 47 weeks to 30 January, according to the latest accounts for Safeway.