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Asda staff protests set to begin over 'brutal' contracts

WORKERS at supermarket chain Asda are mounting protests across Britain tomorrow against the company’s attempts to force them to choose between signing new contracts or facing the sack.

The new contracts abolish meal breaks and introduce compulsory bank holiday working.

Workers who have refused to sign the new contracts have been punished through Asda’s abolition of their entitlement to company sick pay.

Asda is owned by notoriously anti-union retail giant Walmart, which is based in the US.

Protests are being mounted by members of general union GMB at Asda stores in Leeds, Glasgow, Nottingham, Walsall, Bolton, Brighton, Ellesmere Port, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Norwich Stanley, Taunton and Manchester.

GMB says Asda workers have been told that if they do not sign the new contracts by November 2 they will be sacked.

GMB national officer Gary Carter said: “Our members are angry.

“Workers who have given years or loyal service are being told ‘sign this brutal contract or get the sack in time for Christmas.’

“By forcing people to sign this contract, Asda are making people choose between their families or their jobs.

“We’re calling on Asda to respect its workforce and offer dedicated, long-serving staff a better deal.”

The company was founded in 1949 and was taken over by Walmart in a £6.7 billion deal in 1999.

It is Britain’s second-largest supermarket chain behind Tesco.

In 2006, Asda was fined £850,000 for offering workers a pay rise in return for giving up their collective trade union bargaining rights.

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