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Asda workers 'could be sacked' if they don't sign contracts that cut holidays and abolish paid breaks; The GMB union say the new contract cuts holiday entitlement, slashes bank holiday and night shift pay.

Byline: Victoria Jones

Asda workers say they could be sacked if they don't sign contracts that cut holidays and abolish paid breaks.

New contract conditions will see workers no longer paid for breaks and forced to work bank holidays in return for [pounds sterling]9.00 per hour pay rates, trade union GMB said.

They say the contract had previously been voluntary for staff -- but members now say they are being strong-armed into signed the new deal.

The Daily Recordreport one staff member revealed she will lose eight days' annual leave and be left [pounds sterling]500 a year worse off under 'contract 6'.

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A worker at a Scottish store, who didn't want to be named for fear of losing her job, said: "I am disgusted. I have worked for this company for over 10 years and yet the management seem to think they can treat me like dirt.

"They are saying the hourly rate is going to go up to [pounds sterling]9 an hour under the new contract but everyone knows that will be roughly in line with the minimum wage anyway.

"So it is clearly just a money-saving exercise that will leave hundreds of people worse off.

"On my existing deal, I have eight paid bank holidays that will be cut and I won't get paid for my tea breaks so, all in, I'll be about [pounds sterling]500 a year down easily."

A Q&A leaflet given to workers outlines Asda's plan to get rid of workers who don't want to sign up to the new terms.

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It states: "You will have a number of 121s with your manager. As part of the 121 process, we hope you agree to move to the new contract.

"If you still don't want to sign up to the new contract after those 121s, at that stage, we would issue notice to terminate your employment on your existing terms and conditions.

"We will offer to re-engage you on the new terms. If you choose not to accept the new terms, you would leave the business."

Asda is owned by US retail conglomerate Walmart, one of the world's largest companies.

The approach was dubbed "strong-arm tactics" by the GMB trade union.

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The GMB said: "In a recent consultative ballot, 93 per cent of respondents told GMB that they did not agree with the contract changes which were being forced on them.

The union is staging a mass protest in response to the contract changes.

Asda workers from across the country will gather at City Square, in Leeds City Centre, at 12noon on August 14, 2019.

Speakers will address the crowd, before a march past Asda house, finishing at the Tetley Brewery at 2pm.

Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said: "This demonstration will send a loud and clear message to Asda that however much pressure management has put on staff to sign, workers believe contract 6 is still not good enough.

"Asda is a multi-billion pound, highly profitable company - it can afford to treat staff better than this.

"The new contract cuts holiday entitlement, slashes bank holiday and night shift pay, and introduces an any time, any place, anywhere culture which risks a hugely damaging impact on the predominately part time, low paid, female workforce, who need flexibility that works for them.

"We're calling on Asda to come back to the negotiating table and give this dedicated workforce a fair deal."

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Wales Online (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 4, 2019
Words:627
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