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Asda distribution workers vote for strike action amid sick pay dispute

The consultative ballot of nearly 8,000 GMB members working in driver, warehouse and clerical roles ends on 4 May

The GMB Union has announced that thousands of Asda distribution workers have begun an consultative vote on industrial action over proposed cuts to sick pay and a real terms pay cut.

It said bosses are trying to “force” through a pay deal which would see workers lose sick pay entitlement – including the first three days of paid sick pay in any sickness absence and the last 13 to 26 weeks of sick pay.

According to the union, the sick pay scheme was introduced in 2012 when Asda distribution workers were at increased risk of workplace stress and musculoskeletal issues due to higher pick rates.

The consultative ballot of nearly 8,000 GMB members working in driver, warehouse and clerical roles ends on 4 May.

Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said: “These workers kept the nation fed during the pandemic when, in 2020, Asda’s executives awarded themselves a 38.8% pay increase.

“It’s sad that Asda now wants to use the cost-of-living crisis to try to pressure these key workers into self-funding their own pay increase via cuts to their sick pay.”

She added: “With inflation soaring above 8% and the UK facing the worst drop in living standards in fifty years, it’s time these workers need a proper pay rise to help them make ends meet.”

Jon Parry, vice president, Asda logistics services, added: “We have made two improved pay offers to the GMB that recognise rising inflation and would see clerical and warehouse salaries increase by up to 7.49%, and transport salaries by up to 8.91% if accepted.

“We are disappointed the GMB will not put this enhanced offer to members or give them the opportunity to vote on them in a ballot. We expect them to honour the National Recognition Agreement, signed by both parties in 2012, as this provides an agreed framework to resolve outstanding matters, such as through the conciliation service ACAS if required.”

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