// Asda extends deadline for colleagues to sign new contract by one week
// The new contract applies to over 120,000 of its hourly-paid staff
// Asda said the deal will increase basic hourly pay but scrap paid breaks
Asda has extended the deadline for its staff to sign its new contract as thousands fear being sacked from their jobs.
On Saturday, the Big 4 grocer extended the deadline by a week for over 120,000 of its hourly-paid staff to sign a contract which would result in their salary and benefits changing.
Asda said the deal will increase basic hourly pay but scrap paid breaks, cut premium pay on most bank holidays and reduce the number of hours rated as better-paid night shifts.
Meanwhile, the GMB, which represents Asda staff, said last week that up to 12,000 staff would not agree to the new contract.
However, many colleagues have signed in recent days and Asda said on Friday that less than 1000 people had not signed.
Asda announced on Wednesday it would raise its hourly pay rate for supermarket staff by 18p next year.
“We do not want anyone to leave because of the new contract and have tried hard throughout this process to address your concerns,” Asda chief executive Roger Burnley said.
“We’re operating in such a challenging market and have to remain competitive in order to secure our success, now and in the future,” he said.
“Our new contract gives us the flexibility we need to make sure we can respond to our customers’ changing demands and as you know, all of our competitors have already made this change so we cannot get left behind.”
Nevertheless, the GMB said staff had only agreed to the deal as they would prefer to keep their jobs in the run-up to Christmas, and have plans to leave in the new year.
GMB regional secretary Neil Derrick said: “If Asda in any sense think the number of people that has signed up shows contentment and goodwill from the workforce they are mistaken.
“This has completely stamped out any goodwill.”