// An Asda strike has moved closer after thousands of distribution staff turned down a pay deal
// The grocer offered base rate increases to warehouse and clerical staff ranging from 4.98% to 6.10% and 6.49% to 7.53% for transport staff
Asda is now closer to facing potential disruption to its deliveries after thousands of lorry drivers, warehouse staff and clerical workers voted to reject the supermarket’s latest pay offer.
Almost 70% of the GMB union’s 8,000 members within Asda’s distribution network, which employs 12,000 in total, voted to reject the ‘below inflation’ pay rises of between 5% and 7.5%.
That pay rise compares to inflation of 7.8% – on the retail price index measure – while the legal minimum wage is set to increase by 6.6% in April. The government’s preferred measure of inflation – the consumer prices index – is expected to rise from 5.5% in January to almost 8% in April.
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Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said: “The UK is facing the worst cost of living crisis for a generation. Inflation is rampant and energy prices are out of control.
“Yet Asda workers are being taken for mugs with below inflation pay offer that basically means a real terms pay cut.
“They’re not going to take it lying down – it’s now up to Asda bosses to come back with a reasonable offer and avert the threat of industrial action.”
An Asda spokesman said strike action was a ‘long way off’ because the offer still needed to go through ACAS to determine if it was fair.
Jon Parry, the vice-president of Asda Logistics Services, said: “We value the key role our colleagues play to keep our stores well stocked, and we have negotiated in good faith with the GMB to make a fair, competitive and sustainable pay offer that recognises rising inflation.
We are disappointed this has been rejected and we expect the GMB to honour the National Recognition Agreement, signed by both parties in 2012, as this provides an agreed framework to resolve outstanding matters.”
Asda is the latest major retailer in the UK to face potential industrial action over pay along with the Co-op, where earlier this month its floor workers won a key legal argument in a battle to secure equal pay with warehouse staff