Sainsbury’s will shut ALL its supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores on Boxing Day as a ‘thank you’ to its 170,000 staff
- Sainsbury’s said that all its Argos and Habitat stores will also close December 26
- Follows the lead of rivals including Morrisons, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer
- Challenging year for staff amid stock shortages and angry anti-mask customers
Sainsbury’s has said it will keep all its stores shut this Boxing Day as a ‘thank you’ to its roughly 170,000 staff for seeing the company through the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The UK’s second largest grocer will close all of its supermarket, convenience stores and petrol filling stations on December 26 – following the lead of rivals such as Morrisons, Waitrose. Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Lidl.
Sainsbury’s added that all its Argos and Habitat stores will also remain shut for the day.
It comes after a challenging 18 months for workers in the grocery sector which saw store workers have to enforce pandemic regulations – often leading to confrontations with aggressive customers.
There has also been ongoing stock shortages due to supply chain issues caused by Brexit and Covid, which has created a shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers.
Sainsbury’s will close all of its supermarket, convenience stores and petrol filling stations on December 26 – following the lead of rivals such as Morrisons, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer
Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: ‘Christmas is a really special time for so many, but because of lockdown restrictions last year, lots of us weren’t able to celebrate in the way we wanted’ (file photo)
One incident in September last year saw a maskless thug attack a Co-op worker after she asked him to wear a face-covering, while in June a woman spat at a security guard after being ejected for not wearing a face covering.
Sainsbury’s said senior leaders at the firm made the decision after listening closely to colleagues and trade unions.
Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: ‘Christmas is a really special time for so many, but because of lockdown restrictions last year, lots of us weren’t able to celebrate in the way we wanted.
‘In recognition of this and to say a massive thank you to all our colleagues for everything they have done during the last challenging year, we will be closing all of our supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol filling stations, as well as Argos and Habitat stores, this Boxing Day.
‘I want to thank our customers in advance for their understanding, which will mean as many of our team as possible can have a well-deserved break to spend time with loved ones.’
Paddy Lillis, general secretary of the Usdaw trade union, said: ‘After discussions with Sainsbury’s we very much welcome the company closing all their stores on Boxing Day this year, to give their staff a proper break over Christmas.
‘The pandemic showed just how important shopworkers are to our society and communities, as they stepped up and kept essential services running throughout.
‘Key workers have done so much this year and we don’t think it is too much to ask to give them the longest possible break over the festive season.
‘We now hope that other retailers will follow Sainsbury’s lead, by closing their stores on December 26 to help workers enjoy their Christmas, give them a well-deserved breather and make Boxing Day special again.’
Sainsbury’s worker restocks empty shelves of lettuce last week amid ongoing supply chain issues
When the first lockdown was imposed, the government made supermarket staff ‘key workers’ as they tried to battle immense panic buying across the country to keep shelves stocked and the nation fed.
Their importance was again brought front and centre this summer when shelves began to empty more again due to the effects of the so-called ‘pingdemic’.
Thousands of workers were alerted by the NHS Covid app that they had to isolate, meaning many supermarkets faced desperate staff shortages.
Eventually, it was agreed that up to 10,000 supermarket supply chain workers would be exempt from the rules and able to continue working if they were fully vaccinated.
Last year, several rivals agreed to give staff the day off to spend time with families and loved ones after one of the hardest years in retail.
However Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s were open on Boxing Day last year, although some offered staff incentives to work.
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