Retail employer Wilko has been slammed after announcing plans to cut sick pay for keyworker staff.

In a statement, the GMB union warned they would be balloting the members for industrial action if the controversial plans went ahead, saying:

“The discount high street chain remained open throughout the pandemic thanks to the hard work and dedication of their employees – and remained open on Boxing Day unlike many other retailers.

“Wilko has repaid this loyalty by announcing devastating cuts to the sick pay of their staff.”

Currently Wilko employees are entitled to up to four occasions of sickness on company sick pay before reverting to the first three days of sick leave unpaid.

But from the February 1, if a Wilko employee has a single day of sickness they will have no further entitlement to company sick pay for the next 12 months.

Many of these workers are on minimum wage, low hours and also have no entitlement to statutory sick pay which will leave them with no income if they become ill.

Roger Jenkins, GMB National Officer, said:

“Loyal Wilko workers have grafted throughout this pandemic – putting themselves and their families at risk to keep stores open.

“Along with other retail workers, they’ve had to deal with a lack of social distancing, increased threats and abuse from customers.

“Wilko should be rewarding their commitment – but instead they’ve threatened to slash their sickness benefit.

“Wilko should hang their heads in shame.

“GMB will not tolerate this abuse of keyworkers and has informed Wilko that if these draconian measures go ahead, they face a ballot for industrial action.”

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.