Morrisons will shut all stores on Boxing Day to give 111,000 staff the day off as thanks


Morrisons will shut all stores on Boxing Day to give 111,000 staff the day off as thanks for working pandemic – following similar move by M&S, Asda, Aldi and Lidl last year

  • It will be the first time the grocer shuts stores on December 26 in living memory 
  • Several rivals gave staff the day off last year to spend time with their families
  • Shelves were stripped bare and workers battled to keep nation fed during Covid

Morrisons will shut all its stores on Boxing Day this year to give 111,000 staff the day off as a thank you for their hard work during the pandemic.

The supermarket giant follows other major chains such as M&S, Asda, Aldi and Lidl who made the gesture last year following a gruelling pandemic period for staff.  

It will be the first time the grocer has shut stores on December 26 in living memory.

Supermarket workers, and their heroic efforts, have been at the centre of much discussion throughout the pandemic.

When the first lockdown was imposed, the government made them ‘key workers’ as they tried to battle immense panic buying across the country to keep shelves stocked and the nation fed.

Ministers have even faced calls to bring in the Army to help employees working around the clock to shore up the supply of food. 

Morrisons will shut all its stores on Boxing Day this year to give 111,000 staff the day off as a thank you for their hard work during the pandemic

Morrisons will shut all its stores on Boxing Day this year to give 111,000 staff the day off as a thank you for their hard work during the pandemic

Empty freezers, pictured at a Morrisons store in Edinburgh earlier this month, are among the challenges staff have had to face

Empty freezers, pictured at a Morrisons store in Edinburgh earlier this month, are among the challenges staff have had to face

As well as making sure there has been enough food to go around, many have also have to deal with aggressive, confrontational customers, while also policing rules around face coverings for much of the last year and a half.

Their importance was again brought front and centre in the last few weeks, when shelves began to empty more again due to the effects of the ‘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 are 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. 

Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s were open on Boxing Day, although some offered staff incentives to work.

Joanne McGuiness, national officer at shop workers’ union Usdaw, said: ‘The last year-and-a-half has been unlike any other.

Empty shelves, pictured at a Morrisons store in Exeter last month, are among the challenges staff have had to face

Empty shelves, pictured at a Morrisons store in Exeter last month, are among the challenges staff have had to face

Empty freezers, pictured at a Morrisons store in Edinburgh earlier this month, are among the challenges staff have had to face

Empty freezers, pictured at a Morrisons store in Edinburgh earlier this month, are among the challenges staff have had to face

‘The pandemic meant shop workers stepped up and kept essential services running. We welcome Morrisons doing the right thing by their staff with the closure of supermarkets on Boxing Day.

‘Key workers have done so much this year and we are asking retailers to give their staff the longest possible break over the festive season to provide them with a well-deserved breather. We don’t think this is too much to ask for.’

The move by Morrisons comes just weeks before the conclusion of a takeover battle that will see the supermarket become a privately owned business, with private equity houses Fortress and Clayton, Dubliner & Rice (CD&R) both making bids.

There have been concerns that staff welfare could drop under new ownership, but both suitors have vowed to maintain standards for employees.

Other major supermarkets have been approached for comment on their plans for Boxing Day. 



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