ASDA has denied it is preparing to sack 12,000 of its staff over a row concerning new contracts.
Trade union GMB today published an open letter to Asda bosses in which it claimed it was threatening to fire thousands of workers just before Christmas.
In an open letter to senior vice president Hayley Tatum, the GMB called on the company to withdraw its threat to sack all workers who don’t sign the controversial Contract 6 on November 2.
However Asda said this allegation was untrue.
A spokersperson for the Leeds-based supermarket said: “Whilst we respect the right of the GMB to express its views, the comments around Asda colleagues being sacked due to commitments outside work are untrue. This change represents an investment of over £80m and an increase in real pay for over 100,000 of our hourly paid colleagues.
“Throughout the consultation process on these changes we have taken colleague concerns and feedback from colleague representatives – including the GMB - on board and have been clear that we understand our colleagues have responsibilities outside of work and we will always help them balance these with their work life.
“We have been clear that we don’t want any of our colleagues to leave us and whilst the vast majority of colleagues have chosen to sign the new contract, we continue to have conversations with those who have chosen not to, to try and understand their concerns.
“It is vital that we make sure we are prepared to adapt to the demands of our market. Change is never easy, but we are determined that Asda remains a sustainable business for its customers and colleagues – now and in the future.”
Last week Asda workers handed in a 23,000 strong petition opposing the contract to Asda HW during a mass protest in Leeds in which hundreds of people from across the UK gathered in Leeds to voice their anger.
The GMB said that Asda workers have been told to sign the contracts - which will see them lose all their paid breaks and forced to work bank holidays – or be sacked on November 2 in the run up the Christmas.
Dr Who star Paul Mcgann, who also starred in cult hit Withnail and I and Aliens 3, and Rob Delaney, who appeared in Catastrophe and Deadpool 2, both leant their support to Asda workers.
However Asda said the creation of the new Contract 6 contract is simply a case of replacing five exisiting contracts with one catch all document.
Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said: “If Asda is serious about not wanting to sack thousands its employees on the run up to Christmas, they need to withdraw the dismissal notices and sit down with GMB to resolve this dispute.
“Asda has served notice on up to 12,000 of its loyal employees – that can not be right.
“The onus is now on them is save people’s jobs with a better deal that their employees can sign up to.”