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Dagenham and Rainham MP criticises two major supermarket chains over pay disputes

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:32 25 May 2018

MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas, speaking about diesel technology in the Ford factory. Picture: parliamentlivetv

MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas, speaking about diesel technology in the Ford factory. Picture: parliamentlivetv

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Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, has criticised two major supermarket chains over pay disputes with their employees.

Mr Cruddas visited striking workers on the picket line at Tesco’s Dagenham distribution centre where members of the Usdaw union were staging a walkout over pay.

He said: “Workers at the Dagenham distribution centre are being paid £1.39 an hour less than their comrades 10 minutes down the road in Thurrock. It just isn’t good enough and I fully supported their decision to take strike action.”

Further strike action has been called off, with both sides agreeing to further talks.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: “We have always maintained that we have offered colleagues at Dagenham a fair and competitive pay deal. We are therefore pleased the Union and its members have agreed to cancel their planned industrial action and welcome the move to involve ACAS to focus on a resolution.”

Mr Cruddas has also joined more than 100 MPs in co-signing a letter to the prime minister urging her to take urgent action on the “unscrupulous contract changes” announced by Sainsbury’s in March.

The letter, originally written by Siobhain McDonagh MP, claims 10 per cent of workers at the supermarket will lose up to £3,000 per year in wages.

Under the new proposals some workers would receive a pay rise but all employees would lose their paid breaks.

Mr Cruddas said: “A fair wage for a day’s work is the very least that hardworking, loyal staff deserve. I am completely dismayed that a well-respected company such as Sainsbury’s would use smoke and mirror tactics like this - introducing a basic pay rise whilst watering down terms and conditions which will see a drop in real-term wages.”

However a Sainsbury’s spokeswoman has said the letter doesn’t “accurately reflect how the vast majority of our colleagues are feeling” and a consultation means their feedback was used to formulate the plans.

The supermarket also claims to be trying to make a “consistent contract for all colleagues” so workers doing the same job are not paid differently and there will be a pay rise from £8 to £9.20.

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