UK Asda workers are staging protests today over the imposition of Contract 6, which offers an increase in their base rate of £9 an hour but forces them to work on bank holidays and they will no longer be paid for breaks.
According to general trade union GMB, the supermarket giant is ‘punishing’ workers that haven’t signed the new contract by not giving them paid sick leave until they have signed. If they do not sign, they face unemployment on 2 November.
GMB members have said the new contract is ‘forcing’ them to pick between caring for unwell relatives or losing their jobs just before Christmas.
The protests will take place at Asda Stores in Liverpool, London, Hull, Crewe, Dundee, Sheffield, Glasgow, Cwmbran, South Shields, Sheffield, Stockport, Portsmouth, Livingston and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Last month more than 1,000 workers staged a protest in Leeds to show their anger over the new contract.
GMB national officer Gary Carter said: “Asda workers already feel like they are being treated like dirt over this new contract.
“Now they are being punished again if they stand up for their rights, do not sign up to the inferior terms, Asda have said they won’t get their contractual sick pay. By imposing this new contract with the contractual changes it brings, Asda are forcing people to choose between looking after their disabled son, elderly mother or vulnerable wife and losing their job, it’s just not right.
“We’re calling on Asda to respect its workforce and offer dedicated, long serving staff a better deal.”
An Asda spokesperson told Retail Insight Network: “The retail sector is immensely competitive and it is important that we are able to serve our customers in the best way to meet their needs. This contract is about increasing the take-home pay of more than 10,000 retail colleagues, through an investment of more than £80m, and ensuring that everyone doing the same job is on the same terms and conditions.
“The overwhelming majority of our colleagues from across all our stores have signed onto the new contracts and while we appreciate that some of our colleagues find the changes more unsettling, we do not want any of them to leave. We understand colleagues have commitments outside of work and will not be asking them to constantly move the time they work, their days or departments.”