// Asda maintains threat of dismissal as new contract deadline looms despite union concerns
// The Big 4 grocer wants shopfloor staff to agree to new terms under Contract 6
// Asda said the “overwhelming majority” of employees have already signed
Asda has refused to remove the threat of a sack that could affect thousands of employees this week if they fail to sign the grocer’s new contract deal by the deadline.
According to Retail Week, the Big 4 grocer is still pushing ahead with wanting shopfloor staff to agree to new terms under the deal, known as Contract 6.
The deadline has been set as November 2.
The GMB union has accused the Big 4 grocer of “bullying” and said some of the terms on the new contract include the removal of paid breaks and shorter night shifts, as well as the basic hourly rate of pay to £9.
The GMB also alleged that up to 12,000 employees could be affected if they don’t sign the new contract, but Asda has previously refuted this, saying that that number is exaggerated and an “unsubstantiated speculation”.
Asda had launched a consultation process with staff for the new contract, with around 60,000 staff back in May.
The grocer said that since then, the njew contract has already received the support of the “overwhelming majority” of staff and insisted that more were signing the contract every day as a result of their ongoing consultation.
Asda argued that 95 per cent of staff would be better off as a result of the updated contract, which was aimed at increasing the take-home pay of more than 100,000 employees through an investment of more than £80 million and ensuring that everyone doing the same job is on the same terms and conditions.
An Asda spokesperson told Retail Gazette:
“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.”