Nearly 8,000 Asda workers prepared to strike over sick pay cuts

Almost 100% of the 8,000 Asda workers in the GMB union say they are ready to take industrial action over changes to their sick pay, but Asda says it is making workers a fair deal

Anonymous photo by an ASDA employee for reporter Alexandra Rucki
Almost 100% of supermarket workers in the GMB union are ready to strike

thousands of Asda Workers say they are ready to strike over changes to sick pay after a union Poll.

The problem is that Asda wants to give employees a raise at the expense of their sick pay entitlements.

The supermarket wants to cut its sick pay from 26 to 13 weeks.

That GMB union has elected 8,000 Asda members who work in driver, warehouse and clerical roles.

Around 95% of those eligible to vote agreed to take industrial action on the matter.

GMB will now meet with members to discuss next steps.

Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said: “This election result shows how angry Asda workers are.

“They are being asked to take a real pay cut while Asda’s top executives are treating themselves to a hefty pay rise.

“Under no circumstances should these key workers be forced to self-finance their pay rises by cutting their sick pay.

“We will now meet with members to discuss next steps.”

Are you an Asda worker affected by the polls? Contact us:

A formal vote on strikes would have to be held before any industrial action could begin.

An Asda spokesman said: “We have made two enhanced salary offers which would result in warehousing salaries rising up to £13.89 an hour and transport salaries up to £16.25 an hour.

“This is a fair, competitive and sustainable offer and we are disappointed that it was rejected by the GMB without giving its members an opportunity to vote on the proposal.

“It is normal that as negotiations progress, ways are sought to fund additional investments in pay and the offer we have made both increases the wage rate for workers and maintains a market-driven sick pay and policy .

“Any talk of industrial action is premature as there is an agreed framework, including independent mediation and arbitration at ACAS, if required, as part of our long-agreed dispute resolution process.”

Bosses originally proposed a deal to give employees a pay rise at the expense of their sick pay entitlements — including the first three days of paid sick leave and the final 13 to 26 weeks of sick pay

In February, an overwhelming majority of Asda’s workforce voted to reject increases in base rates for warehouse and office workers from 4.98% to 6.10% and from 6.49% to 7.53% for transport workers.

The grocer returned to the negotiating table with the GMB union, offering to increase wages for warehouse and clerical workers by up to 7.49% and transport workers’ wages by 8.31%.

However, the plan was to fund the increases through cuts in sick pay, which “would bring this into line with guidelines in place elsewhere in retail”.

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