After an audience member, also a retail manager, asked about time off over the festive period Iceland’s Richard Walker confirmed he was planning on giving staff the day off
The boss of supermarket retailer Iceland has let slip that the company will be giving its staff a day off for Boxing Day this year.
Richard Walker appeared on BBC’s Question Time on Thursday night when he answered a question about the difficulties the industry is facing.
After an audience member, also a retail manager, asked about time off over the festive period he confirmed the food retailer was planning on giving its staff the day off.
He admitted he was revealing the news a week ahead of a formal company announcement.
During the exchange a member of the public said: “We have been talking a lot about the delivery issues, I’m a store manager in retail and have been for a number of years and it’s incredibly difficult at the moment.
“Last Christmas was really challenging with the lockdowns, everything closing. This year already we are facing difficulties getting products on the shelves.
“Isn’t it about time that for all retailers to allow their teams to have time off on Boxing Day for the first time?
“I just think that really should just be a thing for all retailers. I know some big names have already announced it.
“Surely you guys on the panel can do something about that to allow us to spend time with our friends, and our family, after working such an intense period through Christmas.”
There was a large round of applause from the audience after the question.
Answering him Iceland managing director Richard Walker let slip an announcement was set to be made next week about allowing time off.
He said: “You haven’t had the option to work from home, unlike most industries, and you’re right, it’s a very tough job that is getting tougher.”
Asked by Fiona Bruce if he would like to see the member of the public get Boxing Day off he answered ‘yes.’
Before moving to the next question he added: “I’ve just scuppered an announcement for next week I think.”
He went on to confirm that the company was planning on allowing the day off, prompting another round of applause.
It comes after Mr Walker warned that food could run low in supermarkets long before Christmas in a stark warning.
He said earlier that food shortages could happen in just weeks.
He said: “This is no longer about whether or not Christmas will be OK, it’s about keeping the wheels turning and the lights on so we can actually get to Christmas.
“This could become a problem over the coming days and weeks, so this is not an issue that’s months away.”
He added that Iceland was stocking up on items such as frozen meat, which is already at risk of running low.
He added: “I think there will be problems before Christmas. No one has a problem just at the moment but it could become a problem over the coming days and weeks. It is not an issue that is months away.”