Thousands of Asda workers vote to strike over sick pay dispute

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

Bosses are trying to push through a collective bargaining agreement that would result in thousands of employees losing their entitlement to sick pay [stock image]
Bosses are trying to push through a collective bargaining agreement that would result in thousands of employees losing their entitlement to sick pay [stock image]

Asda could face industrial action by warehouse workers after the chain proposed changes to its sick pay terms and conditions.

Thousands of Asda workers will cast their ballot today after unions rejected a wage deal that would have resulted in the grocer increasing its wage offer in exchange for cutting sick pay.

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%.

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Around 8,000 GMB members working in driver, warehouse and clerical roles have until May 4 to vote [stock image]
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Image:

REUTERS)

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”.

The changes would result in workers losing the first three days of sick leave pay and the last 13 to 26 weeks of sick pay, according to the GMB.

The ballots are not legally binding but will measure support for a strike before a formal ballot begins.

Around 8,000 GMB members working in driver, warehouse and clerical roles have until May 4 to vote.

GMB National Officer Nadine Houghton said: “These workers have fed the nation during the pandemic as Asda executives gave themselves a 38.8% pay rise in 2020.

“It is sad that Asda is now looking to use the cost of living crisis to try and pressure these key workers to self-finance their wage increases by cutting their sick pay.

“With inflation rising to over 8% and the UK facing its worst fall in living standards in 50 years, it’s time these workers got a decent raise to help them make ends meet.”

Asda’s sick pay scheme was introduced in 2012 because it affects sales staff who are at increased risk of work-related stress and musculoskeletal problems due to higher selection rates.

Asda Logistics Services Vice President Jon Parry said: “We have made two improved salary offers to the GMB which recognize rising inflation and, if accepted, increase clerical and warehouse salaries by up to 7.49% and transport salaries by up to 8.91% would see .

“We are disappointed that the GMB will not be bringing this expanded offer to members or allowing them to vote on it.

“We expect them to comply with the national recognition agreement signed by both parties in 2012, as this provides an agreed framework to resolve outstanding issues, for example through the ACAS mediation service, if necessary.”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/asda-workers-vote-strike-action-26654997 Thousands of Asda workers vote to strike over sick pay dispute

Fry Electronics Team

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