// 23,000 people petition opposing new contract for Asda workers
// The petition, organised by the GMB union, handed in to Asda’s head office in Leeds today
Asda workers have handed in 23,000-strong petition to the Big 4 grocer opposing a controversial new contract.
The signatures were delivered to Asda’s head office in Leeds in a shopping trolley as part of a campaign by the GMB union.
The union said Asda workers were told to sign the new contracts, called contract six, which it alleges will see staff lose paid breaks and forced to work bank holidays, or be sacked next month.
- Asda workers protest against “flexible” contract
- Asda to face GMB protest for “bullying” workers over new contract
- Asda full year profit & sales rise despite failed Sainsbury’s merger
However, an Asda spokesperson said the contract has already received the support of the “overwhelming majority” of staff they have consulted with across the business.
GMB national officer Gary Carter said: “Tens of thousands of members of the public are backing our Asda workers in their fight against these draconian contracts.
“Contract six is shocking, the changes are forcing our members to choose between looking after their families, or being able to support them. It’s a disgrace.
“Today we are back in the birthplace of Asda, once a proud, family company, calling on bosses to respect workers and offer them a better deal.”
Asda said the contract was about 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.
A spokesman for the retailer said: “The overwhelming majority of our colleagues from across all our stores have signed onto the new contracts and while we appreciate that some of our colleagues find the changes more unsettling, we do not want any of them to leave.
“We understand colleagues have commitments outside of work and will not be asking them to constantly move the time they work, their days or departments.”
The spokesman added: “This contract is an investment of more than £80 million and increases real pay for over 100,000 colleagues in return for a level of flexibility that ensures we are able to adapt to the demands of the highly competitive retail industry.
“We have consulted extensively with our colleagues, the GMB and our own national colleague representatives to discuss their concerns and to give reassurances that we will always help them to balance their responsibilities outside of work.
“As a result, the overwhelming majority of colleagues have signed to this contract.
“We understand that change is never easy, but we are determined that Asda remains a sustainable business for its customers and colleagues – now and in the future.”