'The founders would be spinning in their graves': Trade union slams new Asda contracts as 'thousands face sack'
The regional secretary for the union which look after Asda staff has slammed the supermarket giant for proposed contracts - which could see them lose flexible working rights.
Thousands of Asda workers are being threatened with the sack unless they sign 'punishing' new employment contracts, union chiefs claim.
The GMB union said on Sunday that employees of the Leeds-based supermarket giant are being forced to agree to new terms which includes not being paid for breaks and losing flexible hours.
It is also claimed that staff will be forced to work bank holidays and weekends.
GMB members are in an ongoing dispute with Asda over the so-called 'Contract 6'.
They are planning to protest later in August about planned changes to worker contracts that affects flexibility and pay.
Asda says the proposals will provide a real terms pay increase for 95 per cent of staff.
WHAT GMB SAY
Today (August 5th), Neil Derrick, GMB Regional Secretary Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, said the founders of the supermarket would be "spinning in their graves".
Mr Derrick said: “Asda was formed from a Leeds family company, one built on the proud Yorkshire values of hard work and respect.
“The founders would be spinning in their graves if they saw how workers are being treated now - threatened with the sack.
“Loyal staff face giving up work so they can look after elderly parents and disabled relatives, single parents are contemplating giving up their only source of income – and long-serving, dedicated workers are being rewarded with cuts to terms and conditions. It's not good enough.
“Asda doesn’t have to do this - it’s a multi-billion pound company and its workforce deserves a better deal.”
On Sunday, Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said it was a "total outrage" that Asda bosses were threatening staff with the sack.
Mr Carter added: "Shoppers will be horrified to learn of what is going on behind the scenes.
“Asda is a multi-billion pound company, it doesn’t need to bully staff out of their hard won terms and conditions.”
CONTRACT 6 EXPLAINED
Currently there are 6 types of contracts Asda staff could be on - even if they work in the same store.
Asda is proposing to merge contracts 1 to 5 into one contract known as Contract 6.
The contract terms require workers to be flexible about when and what times they work.
The contract also involves working weekend and bank holidays.
It has caused concern for many of the 60,000 members of staff in Asda stores across the country.
WHAT ASDA SAY
A company spokesman said: "The move enables us to streamline our existing contract base from 6 different contract types to 1, bringing us in line with industry standards and ensuring that everyone doing the same job is on the same contract.
"Over 50,000 colleagues nationwide were already employed on this contract before we opened consultation to standardise the contract base.
"In an extremely competitive retail landscape, this contract enables us to have the right colleagues in the right place at the right time to deliver great service to our customers.
"We’ve listened to the counter proposals from the GMB and our National Colleague Voice groups and extended the collective consultation period to continue the discussion.
"As a result of the collective consultation process, we have made changes to the proposals, including amending the break rules to minimise the impact of unpaid breaks and increasing the minimum period required to ask a colleague to change department or working pattern to 4 weeks.
"We have also agreed a transitional payment for 18 months for any colleagues who would be financially worse off.
"Overall, the proposal represents an investment from Asda of over £80m.
"We are currently working through the proposals with our colleagues to understand their individual circumstances and how this contract would apply.
“This new contract will see Asda invest in a pay increase for over 100,000 retail colleagues, as well as enabling us to deliver better service to our customers in an intensely competitive marketplace.
We are continuing to talk to our colleagues about this change and to understand what it might mean for their individual circumstances.”