‘Big Four’ grocer Asda has hit back at claims that it will lay off staff for failing to sign a new contract.
Asda said comments from the GMB’s national officers, Gary Carter, around Asda colleagues being sacked due to commitments outside work are “untrue”, after Carter said the contract changes are “forcing” its members to choose between looking after their families, or being able to support them.
The GMB union said Asda workers were being told to sign the “controversial” contracts – which it said will see them “lose all their paid breaks and forced to work bank holidays” – or be sacked on 2 November in the run up to Christmas.
However, an Asda Spokesperson said the “overwhelming” majority of its staff have already signed the new contract and continues to talk to those who have chosen not to sign yet.
The spokesperson said the contract changes represents an investment of over £80m and an increase in real pay for over 100,000 of its hourly paid colleagues.
They added: “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.”
Yesterday (16 October) Asda workers handed in a 23,000 strong petition opposing the new contract at the company’s HQ yesterday (16 October). The signatures were delivered to Asda head office in a shopping trolley as part of a mass protest in Leeds.
Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said at the time: “Tens of thousands of members of the public are backing our Asda workers in their fight against these draconian contracts.
“Contract 6 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 birth place of Asda – once a proud, family company – calling on bosses to respect workers and offer them a better deal.”