The union says Morrisons’ logistics workers in Cheshire and Wakefield could strike over pensions, leaving store shelves empty

Hundreds of workers for the supermarket chain Morrisons could be heading to the picket line after the retailer “forced through changes” to their pensions that will leave them ”worse of by around £500 a year”, the trade union Unite has warned.

Approximately 1,000 Unite members working as warehouse stock controllers, cooks, canteen staff and administrators for Morrisons are being balloted for strike action to protect their pensions and take home pay.

Staff are based in warehouses in Cheshire and Wakefield and perform essential roles that ensure lorries are loaded and shelves are filled in the nearly 500 supermarkets and convenience stores run by Morrisons.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite is focused on our members’ jobs, pay and conditions and these unmerited changes to workers’ pensions will leave our members worse off every month.

”Unite will not stand for such behaviour from any employer, let alone one like Morrisons who is raking in massive profits in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. Its flagrant profiteering and then cutting our members’ take-home pay is a disgrace.”

Changes to Morrisons’ pension provision would see workers increasing their own pension contributions while the supermarket reduces its own contributions by the same amount, Unite said.

Additional changes include a new “pick rate” (the speed at which items are packed from the warehouse shelves), the removal of a service award, enforced changes to jobs roles and a failure to correctly follow absence policies, the union added.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “Our members provide a vital service ensuring supermarket shelves are full. Yet Morrisons have decided to unilaterally impose changes to their pensions that will leave them worse off and changes to the conditions that no one wants.

“Morrisons need to see sense and reverse these changes or they will see the anger of our members on the picket line.”

The ballot for Unite members opened yesterday (18 April) and will close on 9 May. Should the ballot be successful, and if no concessions are made by the employer, industrial action will take place this spring and summer, Unite said.

Morrisons declined to comment.