Supermarket giant Asda is accused of threatening to “fire and rehire” thousands of its employees amid a pay dispute.

The GMB union alleges that plans are in place to inform staff at 39 stores in southern England that they will lose a “location supplement” of 60p-per-hour and reduce their night supplement.

The “fire and rehire” threat

According to the GMB union, Asda intends to impose the new contract on those who do not agree with the proposed changes. Employees who refuse to sign the new contract could face dismissal.

The union characterises this move as a “fire and rehire” threat, a strategy employers deploy to force employees to accept new terms and conditions or risk losing their jobs.

Asda’s response to the allegations

Asda stated that it is currently in consultations in a limited number of stores where employees receive a “legacy location supplement.”

The company claims that this supplement is not in line with the prevailing retail market and creates discrepancies in pay rates among employees working in close proximity to each other.

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As part of the ongoing consultation, Asda is discussing the possibility of compensating affected employees in exchange for removing the location supplement. However, no final decision has been made yet.

Union’s criticism of Asda

National officer Nadine Houghton from the GMB union strongly condemned Asda’s proposed pay cuts, particularly when the cost of living increases.

Houghton described the action as inexcusable, emphasising that it would reduce pay for 7,000 low-paid retail workers.

Future implementation

The GMB union has revealed that plans to implement the pay changes are scheduled for November. However, negotiations and consultations are ongoing, which means there is still a possibility for modifications to the proposals.

The outcome of the discussions will determine whether Asda proceeds with the removal of the location supplement and the subsequent impact on affected employees.

The situation remains uncertain as both the supermarket giant and the union continue their dialogue.