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SUPERMARKET chain Asda is issuing more than 100,000 staff with advice on how to find a job after telling them they will be sacked if they do not sign “merciless” new contracts.
The Leeds-based chain has told workers they must sign a so-called “flexible” contract, which abolishes paid rest breaks and forces them to work on bank holidays.
Asda has warned staff that if they do not sign the new contracts by November 2 they will be sacked.
The company’s latest act of intimidation is to issue leaflets to staff offering advice on “finding a new job,” including “using the local job centre, getting an email address and top tips for writing a CV.”
Asda has already told staff that any who have not signed will receive no company sick pay if they are off work through illness.
The company’s staff, who are members of general union GMB, are fiercely resisting the new contracts.
Protests have been held outside Asda stores nationwide and at the company’s Leeds headquarters.
More protests are planned at 75 Asda stores this week.
GMB national officer Gary Carter said: “With just a month to go before they sack anyone who won’t sign this merciless new contract and Asda see fit to hand this leaflet out. It’s heartless.
“Many loyal Asda workers — who’ve dedicated years of their lives to the supermarket — are going to be sacked just before Christmas.
“Asda needs to show more respect to its workforce, withdraw its threat of the sack, and offer dedicated, long-serving staff a better deal.”
Latest accounts for the supermarket, released last week, show bosses pocketed £12 million in pay and profits rocketed more than £92 million, while the company slashed 5,000 jobs.
Asda employs around 120,000 workers and is owned by notoriously anti-union US retail giant Walmart.
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.
A spokesperson for Asda told the Morning Star: “The retail sector is immensely competitive and it is important that we are able to serve our customers in the best way to meet their needs. This contract is about increasing the take-home pay of more than 100,000 retail colleagues, through an investment of more than £80 million, and ensuring that everyone doing the same job is on the same terms and conditions.
“The overwhelming majority of our colleagues from across all our stores have signed onto the new contracts and while we appreciate that some of our colleagues find the changes more unsettling, we do not want any of them to leave. We understand colleagues have commitments outside of work and will not be asking them to constantly move the time they work, their days or departments.”
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