George Eustice says ‘Christmas is safe’
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Despite the reassuring words of the Government regarding the recent fuel shortages, a lack of warehouse workers and lorry drivers could impact Christmas shopping deliveries for many retailers. This summer, many popular products have been absent from supermarket shelves due to supply chain issues.
Food industry leaders have previously warned the situation could worsen over the Christmas period.
A lack of delivery drivers and growing labour shortages have been blamed on supply chain issues.
However, Sainsbury’s is creating 22,000 seasonal jobs to help the supermarket chain meet higher demand during the festive season.
The retail group – which owns Argos – will be hiring store staff, delivery drivers and logistics workers as part of its “biggest ever Christmas recruitment drive”.
Clo Moriarty, Sainsbury’s retail and digital director, said: “We’re going all out to help our customers celebrate and make sure they have a great Christmas this year.
“By recruiting 22,000 temporary Sainsbury’s and Argos colleagues on an attractive pay package, incentivising online drivers and offering additional hours to existing colleagues over the festive season, we will deliver what our customers want – great food and fantastic service.
“Christmas is a fun time to work in retail for anyone who enjoys helping customers and thrives on working in an inclusive team environment.
“If that’s what motivates you, we’re ready to welcome you to Sainsbury’s.”
Roles will be available across the UK from Friday – four weeks earlier than last year – as the supermarket looks to get ahead with preparations for a busy festive season.
There will be 14,500 new Sainsbury’s and Argos store roles, including at least 500 customer and trading manager positions.
A further 180 members of staff will be hired at its contact centres.
Those hired as part of the seasonal work will be on fixed-term contracts of between three and 12 weeks, with staff working until January 8.
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The supermarket chain will also introduce a new payment incentive for Argos and grocery online drivers.
New and existing drivers will be able to earn up to an additional £500 for fulfilling shifts over the busy Christmas period.
Business minister Paul Scully welcomed the move by Sainsbury’s and joked it is “enough to give Father Christmas some serious competition”.
He said: “The Government is protecting, supporting and creating jobs across the UK through our plan for jobs and it’s great to see Sainsbury’s launching its biggest ever Christmas recruitment drive.
“These 22,000 jobs being created across the country mean more opportunities for workers and even better service for customers – enough to give Father Christmas some serious competition.”
Richard Griffiths, British Poultry Council CEO, said in a statement: ”With fewer than 100 days to go until Christmas, and already facing mounting labour shortages, the last thing British poultry production needs is more pressure.”
But Richard Walker, managing director of supermarket chain Iceland Foods, had an even stronger warning for consumers.
Mr Walker told the BBC: “This is no longer about whether Christmas will be okay, it’s about keeping the wheels turning and the lights on so that we can actually get to Christmas.”
He added: ”This is not an issue that’s months away.”
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