Photo: Somerset Labour

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is putting up a "brick wall" to union attempts to find ways to prevent the closure of the retailer’s Bridgwater distribution centre, Unite claimed this week.

Plans to close the Argos site next year, which employs 230 staff, were revealed in April.

Unite claimed this week that consultations with Sainsbury’s are being hampered with requests for additional information being refused on the grounds it is “commercially sensitive” or which has been presented in an unusable form.

Unite national officer Matt Draper said: “Sainsbury’s management is guilty of negotiating in bad faith.

“Unite is committed to looking at all options to save jobs and keep the distribution centre open but in order to construct a viable alternative business case the company needs to supply key information.

“By effectively erecting a brick wall by blocking the information that Unite needs to develop a counter-business case Sainsbury’s is deliberately preventing meaningful consultation from occurring.

“The fact that rumours which have spread like wild fire among the workforce, that the site has already been sold, adds further weight to the belief that the company is simply going through the motions and is not serious about considering alternative options.”

Sainsbury’s refuted the claims this week. In a statement it said the closure is part of plans to rationalise the Sainsbury’s and Argos logistics networks, following the retailer’s acquisition of Argos.

“Our Bridgwater depot is one of those sites and we are having open and constructive consultation sessions with colleagues and their union representatives. Rumours the site has been sold are incorrect."