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Asda workers take to streets as contract row escalates

Published:  16 October, 2019

Asda workers will take to the streets of Leeds this afternoon to protest against the retailer’s decision to impose a new contract on all of its staff.

The marchers, organised by the GMB union, which represents employees at the US-owned multiple, will deliver thousands of customer letters in support of the staff to chief executive Roger Burnley at Asda’s headquarters in the city.

Asda has threatened to dismiss any employees who have not signed the new contract – named Contract 6 – by 3 November.

Under the terms of the new contract, staff would no longer be entitled to paid breaks during the day and would be required to work most bank holidays across the year.

Referring to the customer letters, Keith Dixon, GMB regional organiser, said: “[Contract 6’s] flexibility will clearly provide financial savings for the business and is one of the key parts which the business failed to discuss or disclose during the consultation period.

“Customers were disgusted with the way your [staff] are being treated and as such have willingly signed the letters and agreed for them to be presented to you.  

"Asda used to be a well-respected company where colleagues were proud to wear the Asda badge. This has changed and the change is not one for the better.

"It’s time to return to the negotiating table and work with GMB upon pay, terms and conditions to continue to keep the business successful and give your colleagues the respect and pride they used to have.”

Asda is offering to raise the hourly rate of pay to £9 for those workers who agree.

Previously, Asda staff were retained on one of six different contracts with varied pay and conditions.

For workers who were on a previous iteration of Contract 6, this represents a rise of 1.8%. For workers previously on one of the five other contracts, which paid the national living wage of £8.21, it represents a rise of 9.6%.

Sainsbury’s and Aldi pay staff £9.20 and £9.10 an hour respectively, rising to £9.80 and £10.55 in London.

Sainsbury’s cut paid breaks for its workers last year.