Asda Contract Row

17 Oct 2019

Contract Dispute Leaves 12,000 Asda Employees’ Jobs at Risk

Up to 12,000 Asda workers may lose their jobs next month, as a dispute over new contracts turns bitter.

The introduction of new contracts has caused a stir amongst some of the supermarket’s staff. A main point of contention being work/life balance, which some workers fear will be harder to achieve. Forced bank holiday shifts and reduced breaks are reported to form part of the controversial contracts that the GMB union has branded “draconian”.

As a result, thousands of Asda employees are currently serving a 12-week notice period, following their refusal to sign the contract. At present, all of these individuals will be dismissed from the business after the contract deadline of 2nd November.

However, Asda has confirmed that the workers opposing the contracts still have time to sign and keep their jobs. They maintain that the contracts were created with employees in mind and that 95% of staff would see an improvement in their working lives following their implementation.

Therefore, it may not be a surprise to hear that the “vast majority” of some 100,000 employees (those who will be affected by the changes) have already signed their new contracts. Despite this, the 12,000 resisting the changes seem resolute.

Wednesday saw hundreds of the disgruntled employees descend on Asda’s Leeds Head Office. They delivered a 23,000-signature petition opposing the new contracts in an Asda shopping trolley, as part of a march organised by GMB. The union have made their position on the new contracts clear:

“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.” – GMB National Officer, Gary Carter.

Asda has disputed the comments made by Carter:

“The comments from the GMB’s Gary Carter this morning around Asda colleagues being sacked due to commitments outside work are untrue.

“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.”

The spokesperson for the supermarket went on to explain that the consultation process had been thorough; feedback from employees and representatives (including Carter) was welcomed and taken on board. They also went on to say that over 100,000 hourly-rate employees would see an “increase in real pay”.

By Melissa Jones