Distributive policy

Icelandic warehouse criticized for Queen’s funeral leave policy

A SUPERMARKET warehouse in Swindon has come under fire for the way it treated workers on the day of the Queen’s funeral.

Iceland’s Penzance Drive distribution center has been accused of asking workers to use one of their vacation days if they wanted time off to watch Monday’s historic procession.

GXO, the company that manages the center’s workforce, said it was providing stipends for some employees to observe the holiday.

But an unnamed source told the Adver: “It’s an insult. We could have a day off, but only if we used paid leave.

“They gave some people time off but not everyone, and then we were told afterwards that if you took that day off, it wouldn’t be recognized as paid time off.

“People here are really angry about it – a lot of my friends, family and other colleagues wanted to pay their respects, it was a historic event.

“Monday has been declared a bank holiday by the King himself, and other supermarkets like Aldi and Sainsbury’s have closed and given their staff an extra paid day off.

“The Queen has knighted Iceland’s boss, Sir Malcolm Warner, and this is how he repays her, in shame.”

A peak of 37.5 million people in the UK watched Queen Elizabeth II’s final trip to Westminster Abbey for the funeral service and the subsequent procession through London to Windsor.

Monday September 19 has been declared a national holiday to allow individuals, businesses and other organizations to pay their respects to the UK’s longest-serving monarch on the final day of the country’s mourning period.

A GXO spokesperson said: “We have taken all possible steps to allow our employees to observe Her Majesty’s State Funeral without affecting existing arrangements with our customers.

“GXO has implemented a reduced schedule during the holidays to allow as many employees as possible to take time off or work shorter shifts.

“Whenever possible, employees have been able to substitute their holiday shift for other time slots.

“Due to the nature of running the grocery store, some staff were serving our supermarket customers to minimize disruption and ensure people across the UK have access to fresh food the next day.”

The government’s announcement of the public holiday added: “It will operate in the same way as other public holidays, and there is no statutory entitlement to leave.

“Employers can include public holidays as part of a worker’s leave entitlement.”