Outrage as thousands of Asda staff 'facing the sack' over new work contracts

Union leaders say thousands of Asda workers are being threatened with the sack if they do not sign 'punishing' new contracts
Union leaders say thousands of Asda workers are being threatened with the sack if they do not sign 'punishing' new contracts
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Thousands of Asda workers are being threatened with the sack unless they sign 'punishing' new employment contracts, union chiefs claim.

-> 'The founders would be spinning in their graves': Trade union slams new Asda contracts as 'thousands face sack'

GMB members protesting in May this year outside Asda HQ in Leeds city centre

GMB members protesting in May this year outside Asda HQ in Leeds city centre

The GMB union said today that employees of the Leeds-based supermarket giant are being forced to agree to new terms which includes not being paid for breaks.

It is also claimed that staff will be forced to work bank holidays and weekends.

GMB members are in an ongoing dispute with Asda over so-called 'Contract Six'.

They are protesting about planned changes to worker contracts that effects flexibility and pay.

GMB members protesting outside Asda in Leeds city centre earlier this year.

GMB members protesting outside Asda in Leeds city centre earlier this year.

Asda says the proposals will provide a real terms pay increase for 95 per cent of staff.

Currently there are six types of contracts Asda staff could be on - even if they work in the same store.

Asda is proposing to merge contracts one to five into one contract known as Contract Six.

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The contract terms require workers to be flexible about when and what times they work.

It has caused concern for many of the 60,000 members of staff in Asda stores across the country.

A GMB spokesman said today that workers have now been told that they have until November 2 to agree to the new terms or face losing their jobs.

Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said: “It’s a total outrage. Asda bosses are threatening staff with the sack if they don’t agree to this flawed contract.

"Shoppers will be horrified to learn of what is going on behind the scenes.

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"Our hard-working members are telling us they are being forced into signing these new contracts for fear of not being able to pay the bills or put food on the table for their kids.

"It's sapping away morale and heaping misery on our members.

"Instead of strong arm tactics, Asda needs to show some respect and listen to the workers whose hard work make the company's profits.

"The Asda workforce deserve a better deal and the company should get round the table with us and agree changes that would help both our members and the business thrive."

“Asda is a multi-billion pound company, it doesn’t need to bully staff out of their hard won terms and conditions.”

Union members staged a 'surprise protest' outside Asda headquarters in May as part of a nationwide dispute.

Asda say new new contracts will increase the base rate of pay to £9 per hour, plus premiums, and maintain existing benefits including the annual bonus, share save scheme and colleague discount.

A company spokesman said: "The move enables us to streamline our existing contract base from six different contract types to one, bringing us in line with industry standards and ensuring that everyone doing the same job is on the same contract.

"Over 50,000 colleagues nationwide were already employed on this contract before we opened consultation to standardise the contract base.

"In an extremely competitive retail landscape, this contract enables us to have the right colleagues in the right place at the right time to deliver great service to our customers.

"We’ve listened to the counter proposals from the GMB and our National Colleague Voice groups and extended the collective consultation period to continue the discussion.

"As a result of the collective consultation process, we have made changes to the proposals, including amending the break rules to minimise the impact of unpaid breaks and increasing the minimum period required to ask a colleague to change department or working pattern to 4 weeks.

"We have also agreed a transitional payment for 18 months for any colleagues who would be financially worse off.

"Overall, the proposal represents an investment from Asda of over £80m.

"We are currently working through the proposals with our colleagues to understand their individual circumstances and how this contract would apply."

UPDATE

GMB said the founders of Asda would be 'spinning in their graves'.